When the weather outside is close to 100 degrees and the air is filled with smoke here in Southern California the last thing on my mind is cracking open a thick decadent pastry stout. With that being said when duty calls, I have to do what needs to be done and I am taking on for the team. All in all, when the air conditioning has the room in the low 70s, I am just going to pretend it is stout weather.
Today’s review is Weekend from Prairie Artisan Ales. I have always been a fan of Prairie beers. Back in the day Bomb! was always a big get when it first starting hitting the shelves. Since then it seems every trip to the bottle shop brings another 12-ounce bottle with a crazy label from prairie with some type of delicious stout in it and I am excited to crack open this one regardless of the weather outside.
Weekend is a 13 percent ABV stout brewed with: chocolate. Yes. Coconut. Oh hell yeah. And what the brewer describes as a serious amount of marshmallow. Huh? Chocolate in beer is generally a good thing and I am an absolute sucker for any beer with coconut but, I am a little hesitant about the large marshmallow contribution. In my experience, the addition of marshmallow tends to bring a cotton candy-like quality that is more miss than hit for me but let’s give it a try. In small amounts, it can add a nice touch of sweet but once you cross that line it can take over.
As expected, Weekend pours almost jet black and light doesn’t permeate the glass even when held to a light. A thin half finger of head forms then quickly dissipates leaving an almost oil-like flat surface in the glass. The aroma immediately comes off very sweet. This is also as expected given the list of adjuncts in the beer. The sweetness on the nose is straight marshmallow and if I was asked to smell this blindfolded, beer would not be on my list of guesses. The coconut is there but definitely standing behind the distinct marshmallow. After a few whiffs, I get a bit of milk chocolate and vanilla which all combine for a very sweet-smelling brew.
The mouthfeel is thick and oily but given the style, I would consider it within the acceptable range. Of course, the marshmallow is the first thing to jump out as I take my first few sips but the second thing that jumps out is that there are virtually no signs of the 13 percent ABV. The coconut is there but I feel the sweet cotton candy-like marshmallow masks the coconut and turns it into more of a coconut flavor candy and not actual coconut. I feel like it is cheating when I write a beer review and the only flavor descriptors I use are the adjuncts listed on the bottle but in this case that is really all I am getting. My fear of what the “serious amount of marshmallows” would bring to this beer is realized as I drink my way through the glass.
Admittedly, the pastry stout is not generally one of my go-to styles but I do enjoy myself a pour from time to time. When I open a Bottle Logic Stasis Project beer, something from Horus or any of the other great options available here in Southern California I generally like the first four or five ounces before it becomes too much. I reached that point on my second sip with this beer. When the sweetness is coming from unfermented sugars and chocolate it seems to work better in the beer for me rather than the artificial tasting marshmallow. If I had a second bottle, I would definitely wait a while for the weather to cool outside and hopefully, the sweetness would subside at least a little bit to let the other flavors come through. I have really liked a lot of the similar offerings from Prairie in the past and have a ton of respect for the brewery but this one was a bit of a swing and a miss for me.