West Sixth Brewing - Snake Eyes
Serving Temperature:52–59° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Snifter, or Pinot Glass
Of all the beers we’ve been able to sample from West Sixth Brewing, Snake Eyes imperial stout stood out as an incredibly generous and unique example of its style. We love tracking down delicious imperial stouts that manage to stand out from the sea of them, and the West Sixth Snake Eyes just brought a ton of complexity along with an overall malt expression that felt like it occupied a lesser-explored part of the imperial-stout spectrum: leanly packed with cocoa and baker’s chocolate and deeply roasted coffees, avoiding the sweeter terrain of milk chocolates and caramels. It’s streamlined, packed with flavor, an overall pleasure to sip.
Snake Eyes pours an exceptionally dark chocolate-brown with caramel edges, capped by a nice amount of finely bubbled tan foam for an 11% imperial stout. There’s a modest bit of viscosity to this beer in the glass, and those initial aromatics of baker’s and bitter chocolate are apparent straight from the fridge. As this is allowed to warm up, a generous degree of nuttiness and sweet roast emerge, with touches of berry and red-fruit character underneath. For the degree of dark chocolate coming through this still feels quite light in the aroma, and the overall expression remains dry. The coffee serves as a smoothly integrated undercurrent, staying mellow and well roasted throughout. Hints of anise and vanilla appear.
A lively amount of CO2 provides a good degree of lift for this stout, and, working with the overall dryness of this hefty stout, keeps it an absolute pleasure to drink. Lots of cocoa and dark chocolate form the crux of the initial landing, and this remains lightly bitter despite not having a particularly overt hop presence. It’s appealing, burnt-bread-crust bitter. There’s a toasty, dry-chocolate core that serves as the baseline to this stout, and (as noted) Snake Eyes avoids a good bit of the sweeter territory of other stouts, in favor of deeper cocoa and berry terrain. A ripe cherry/currant note emerges clearly as this warms, beside some fruity, vinous heat, plus a fair bit of coffee and roasted nuttiness. This stout continues to unpack itself.
Given the ABV, style and overall flavor profile, there seems to be room for a bit of cellaring time for West Sixth’s Snake Eyes. Just pop a bottle every six months or so to ensure it’s still around the balance you’re looking for. For pairings, look to a juicy steak or leg of lamb.
West Sixth Brewing hit our radar pretty early on after they were founded in 2012, and this sustainability-minded brewery in Kentucky has been making some exceptional beers that see very modest distribution. From their core year-round IPA (packed with Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Columbus hops) to more occasional offerings like their exceptional Christmas Ale and imperial stout releases, West Sixth has been continually knocking it out of the park. The brewery distributes solely in its home state of Kentucky and nearby Cincinnati, Ohio, but the local emphasis has also helped them grow in leaps and bounds over the past seven-ish years.
In addition to world-class beers, we appreciate the mindfulness West Sixth shows toward the surrounding communities, as well as their efforts toward environmental sustainability. Along with supporting nonprofits through campaigns like Sixth for a Cause, Wooden Nickel, Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter, and Pedaling for a Purpose, the brewery also releases a sustainability report each year—highlighting efforts in areas like farming and land management practices, resource utilization/recycling, charitable giving, and community involvement.
West Sixth currently operates two taprooms in downtown Lexington: the Main Taproom (at their original location in the historic Bread Box building) plus The West Sixth Greenroom, both of which offer 15–20 West Sixth beers on tap along with a selection of bottled releases. Ditto for the brewery’s West Sixth Farm, a 120-acre property on which West Sixth will grow all kinds of different regional ingredients for their beers: hops, blackberries, and raspberries (which they’re currently farming), along with barley, sorghum, squash, pawpaws, sugar beets, and chili peppers. Currently closed for winter, the West Sixth Farm reopens this spring, with free property tours (including its trellised hop yard, cider/berry orchard, chickens, and catch-and-release fishing pond), an on-site taproom, weekend food trucks, and four+ miles of mix-use trail system, the outer trails of which are open year-round… Now we want to go.
Ooh, also! The brewery’s slated to open a large new location up in downtown Louisville, in the trendy NuLu neighborhood. West Sixth Nulu will include a brewery and taproom, and is expected to open up in early 2020. Learn more on the brewery’s website at westsixth.com.
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