2/3/22: Tales from the Cellar Ice Day Edition--Wolf's Ridge Brewing's Dire Wolf Coffee Joy (2020)

10:21 AM

This is one of those incredibly rare occurrences where the weather's bad enough that my employer shutters its offices for the day so its employees can stay home and safe. Right now, we're getting pummeled with freezing rain, which will last until this evening when it turns to snow. The power's still on--truth be told, I don't think we'll lose it (but we're covered with firewood and bottled water if we do).

After a lazy morning I'm now welcoming an equally lazy afternoon with a bottle of Wolf's Ridge's Dire Wolf Coffee Joy, which I'm sipping before a roaring blaze in our wood-burning stove. I'm so happy to be indoors right now.

I wrote about Wolf's Ridge twice in late-December, so I'll let my summary of the brewery from that first post stand for itself:

Columbus, OH's award-winning Wolf's Ridge Brewing has a two-fold brewing mission: 1) Use the best ingredients to make standard beer styles sing and 2) push the boundaries of beer expectations, bringing new ideas to this ancient artform. 

This year's Dire Wolf Coffee Joy is up and purchasable on Wolf's Ridge's website. The imperial stout features Guatemalan cacao, hand-toasted coconut, One Line coffee, and Madagascar vanilla beans. This year's ABV is 10.8%, but the bottle I'm breaking into (bottled 12/02/20) rings in at just 10.4%.

The stout's bouquet is all coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, coconut, and slight almond. There's a bit of alcohol warmth, but not much. It's kind of like s'mores, only if you used an Almond Joy instead of a chocolate bar, washed down with a cup of iced coffee. This is a near-heavenly nose, and one Purrl (who gave my bottle eight whiffs) seems to get behind.

Coffee Joy's flavor profile's as delectable as its aromatics: At first I get hearty, bitter imperial stout flavors (dark, roasty malt, some dark fruit, and a good hoppy bite), which is followed by all the goodness from the nose. That means chocolate, coconut, vanilla, almond (which isn't an adjunct used here and is most likely my brain filling in the vacant space between the coconut and chocolate), and good, black coffee. I'm also detecting a slight peanutiness here, too. The finish is warming milk chocolate deliciousness.

The mouthfeel's full with a creamy carbonation to it. This drinks like a beer of its size and caliber. It's a hell of a stout for a slushy, icy day.

This is that magical kind of beer that, on a day like today (especially), transports you to somewhere else. Instead of in my wintry east-of-Cincinnati home, a small pull from this bottle transports me to some tropical locale. I'm reclining on a warm beach in the morning, the sun rising steadily and shining bright, a gentle breeze flowing through palm leaves, waves gently lapping at the shore, a boombox bumping Conor Oberst's self-titled album.

Once I set the bottle down, however, I'm back in the horrid wintry mix, enjoying a killer beer. Dire Wolf Coffee Joy is the best offering I've had from Wolf's Ridge. It's a 10/10 stout. I'm glad I've kept this bottle in my cellar for a bit. Buying some of this year's and sitting on it would be a good choice for you to make.

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