11/18/21: Hubbard's Cave's Päncake Walk

4:16 PM

Today, we're rounding the corner and closing in on Maple Month's homestretch, which means just one thing: I'll be drinking some bruisers.

The first in this series of three is from Hubbard's Cave. They do a lot within the pastrystout scene and are something of a big deal. Last year I drank their Imperial Maple Stout and scored it perfectly, meaning it earned my highest recommendation. Will the brewery's Päncake Walk impress me just as much?

Hubbard's Cave is an offshoot of Niles (formerly Chicago), IL's Une Anée. The brand was made to produce the kinds of brews its parent brewery's shied away from. Since Une Anée specializes in Belgian-style beers, Hubbard's Cave casts a wide net, which has caught IIPAs, pastrystouts, and many other styles. Une Anée's "About Us" page concludes that Hubbard's Cave produces some of their most popular beers, which, in my purely anecdotal experience, is resoundingly true.

Päncake Walk isn't featured on Une Anée's website anymore, so my intel's coming from Untappd. It's a 12% ABV (a bruiser, right?) imperial stout brewed with maple, chocolate, pecans, coconut, and lactose. Let's see how its drinking.

Purrl gave my can eight whiffs. I'm telling you that now because, if you've been following along with my posts this month, you'll know she doesn't particularly care for maple beers. So eight whiffs from her is high praise.

For my part, I'm also enjoying the can's bouquet. I'm finding a wallop of boozy pecans, maple warmth, chocolate, and coconut. There's some milk stout sweetness here, along with a healthy amount of dark fruit (plum and fig) and a hint of raisin. All told, Päncake Walk's nose is a delight.

My first swig begets maple in spades, bolstered by coconut, chocolate, and pecan. That lactose sweetness is here, too. The booze hits at the same time as the maple. Beyond all this, I'm finding dollops of brown sugars and a touch of plum. The finish is booze, chocolate, and sticky maple sweetness that lingers on my lips.

That addition of lactose to Päncake Walk makes for a creamy, delectably smooth stout. This is a weighty, heavy-bodied beer.

One November when I was in high school--I think sophomore year--I bought a PSP with the system's port of Final Fantasy Tactics. I adored the game and it's gorgeous, newly-added cutscenes, but I never got very far into it--tactics-style gameplay, which fun, doesn't really capture me like classic turn-based RPG combat.

That November, though, on the specific day I picked up the handheld and that game (from Kmart), it was cold and cloudy. I sat before our fireplace as I booted up the system and started the game for the first time. The warmth of the fire, with the fantastical journey through Ivalice, is quintessential November for me. As is fine maple stouts, like today's beer.

Look, I'd be saying something if I were to give each of the only two Hubbard's Cave stouts I've had a 10/10. So, since I'm giving a Päncake Walk a 10/10, I should figure out what that something is. If you see this beer, treat yourself and give it a go. It's wonderful.

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