I always look forward to sitting down and picking apart a good beer and writing about it. I especially enjoy it when it is a chance to try something completely new. When I pulled today’s beer from the fridge I knew absolutely nothing about the beer or the brewery behind it. After doing some research on The Veil Brewing Co. from Virginia I become even more excited to crack open tonight’s beer.
In 2016 the brewery opened in Richmond, Va. with Matt Tarpey at the helm as the brewmaster. You may be thinking: who is Matt Tarpey and what is so special about the Veil Brewing Co? Tarpey learned the craft of brewing from the likes of Portsmouth Brewery, The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Cantillon. I don’t know about you but when I see that list of breweries in one sentence my ears perk up and I start to salivate. Add that to the fact that on the front page of the company’s website it states that they specialize in hoppy beers, high gravity barrel-aged beers along with spontaneously fermented sour beers and I am checking airfare prices to Virginia.
Luckily, a walk to the fridge is all the travel I need today to try my first offering from Tarpey and the team at Veil. Sleeping Forever is a 12 percent imperial stout and I have a 16-ounce can of the non-barrel aged version1 to crack open tonight. It pours as dark as motor oil from a neglected car and with a similar viscosity. A surprising amount of rich dark chocolate-colored head sits atop the beer and as I hold it to the light nothing penetrates it. I raise the glass to take a whiff and roasted grains are the first thing to jump out of the glass. Notes of cacao nibs and alcohol are also present along with hints of coffee and a meaty smokiness. They all combine for a pleasant aroma but nothing earth shattering.
As I take my first sip the biggest thing to immediately jump out to me is the viscous mouthfeel. It is thick, rich and creamy to the point I would not be surprised if lactose was added to the beer. [I have no knowledge of lactose being in the beer other than the wonderfully creamy mouthfeel.] The roasted malts are also a big player in the flavor of this beer but the dark chocolate is the heavy hitter. Tons of chocolate along with coffee, vanilla and molasses. A little later in the sip, sweet dates and figs arrive adding a very interesting aspect to the beer. The dark fruits linger into the finish which sticks to your tongue for a while. All of the flavors play so well with each other and just a hint of bitterness round it out nicely.