South Street Brewery, one of Charlottesville, Va.’s longest running breweries, was purchased by Blue Mountain Brewery in 2014. Two of Blue Mountain’s founders, Mandi and Taylor Smack both worked for South Street over a decade ago. With their expertise, South Street is re-emerging as a player in the Central Virginia craft beer scene.
Today’s offering from the brewery is Soft Serv which South Street is calling an ice cream porter. The beer is brewed with Pilsener malts, mild ale malt, flaked oats, Cara 8 malt and Carafa Spezial II malt. Many of the other ingredients include Simcoe hops, Scottish ale yeast, Madagascar vanilla beans and Ghanian cacao nibs.
Pouring Soft Serv, I seem to have a problem generating a large enough head and finally as I pour straight down the middle I receive a beer of almost pitch black color, dark chestnut brown edges and a finger of khaki head. Spotty and very sporadic lacing follows and carbonation is almost non-existent. Aroma is relatively light and exhibits bits of chocolate, both semi-sweet and bitter.
Taste is another whole ballgame, as all of the original aromas do not predict what is about to come. First sip overpowers the mouth with lactose and sugar and then follows up with milk chocolate, light touches of Hershey’s syrup, iced coffee and a hint of nuttiness, like raw almonds. Carbonation is almost non-existent, which adds to the overwhelming sweetness that is now coating my mouth. Mouth feel is very creamy and there is almost no bitterness to speak of. The finish is still sweet with a back of light, diluted chocolate.