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Beer Man: Golden Casper White masks tasty stout flavor

4:15 PM, Aug. 19, 2013  |  Comments
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Casper White Stout is quite the Jekyll and Hyde beer, but not in a bad way.

It is a deceptive beer, with its golden pour topped by a white head. The aroma is fresh grain and herbal hops. All in all, it looks and smells like a European pilsner.

So it was disorienting when the first flavors of chocolate and coffee were discovered. Not unpleasant, mind you, but I kept going back and forth between the aroma and taste, and once again marveling at the ingenuity of brewers.

The chocolate flavor was more in line with milk chocolate and the coffee flavor was not as intense as found in stouts; ditto for the bitterness that usually comes from the dark grains. The flavor also had a background of vanilla and mellow grassy-herbal hops. A slight sweetness helped bring out the chocolate character. As I had a few more creamy sips, I closed my eyes and thought of milk stouts.

So how do you get a stout flavor in a light-colored beer? Since the black roasted malts typically used in stouts were not used, the flavor characteristics came from aging the beer for two weeks with coffee beans and cocoa nibs. They were enough to provide the chocolate stout flavor, but not darken the beer.

The 6-percent ABV Casper is listed as being made by the James Page Brewing Co., which is a subsidiary of Stevens Point Brewery. Other cans in the JP series include Yabba Dhaba Chai Tea Porter, A Capella Gluten-Free Ale and Ould Sod Irish Red IPA. The beers are available in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin; the Beer Finder link is at www.jpbrewery.com/productlocator.php.

Stevens Point brewery received an overall third place award in the recent U.S. Open Beer Championships. The brewery is the fifth-oldest continuously operating brewery in the U.S., surviving Prohibition and the Depression by producing near beer and soft drinks. The company is now quite diverse with its core Point beers, Whole Hog big beer line, Cider Boy ciders, soda and contract brewing. I look forward to its further ventures.

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