Beer Noir reviews: Behind the 8 Ball Stout and A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

A tale of two beers.
Just another night in Beer Noir.

The Strip’s always beautiful at sunset. Tall palms seductively sway from the cool evening breeze just like the gals down at the Go-Go. The large sign on the hill reminds me that this is the place where dreams come true, where fortunes are made, where stars are born. Fact is though, this town is merciless: It will break you down, chew you up, and send you back from where you came — penniless and broken. For every star that makes it, a thousand don’t and some of those end up with concrete boots and a tarry demise. Sometimes just wakin’ up with your dignity and a nickel in your pocket feels like an accomplishment. Sometimes, just wakin’ up does…

I feel like I’ve been walking this boulevard of broken dreams for days. A sign reading “Craft Beer Here” draws me toward the door. I walk in. A friendly voice asks, “Hey stranger, you lookin’ for a Blonde tonight?” I tell him, “No Sam, I’m lookin’ for something with a little more personality. And make it a double.” He nods and says, “Well, in that case, I’ve got A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ just for you, chief.”

Sam pours me a cold one and hands me the glass, “You’ll like this one, it’s A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company – up the coast a’ ways. They‘re known for their hop bursting elixirs and aren‘t for the meek.”

It’s faded gold in color, just like the sidewalk stars. A dense, bright white foam head stays around for awhile and tropical fruit aromas rise out of the glass. Sweet malt, peach and apple flavors meet the tongue first, tailed closely by a near-lethal wallop of grapefruit. The ending is dry and bitter, with a hint of pine in the closing credits. It’s full of hop goodness but drinkable, balanced and fantastic. I have another pint or three and head out the door…

Lost Coast Brewery 8 Ball StoutIt’s nightfall once again and I’m not sure what time it is, or even what day it is for that matter, but it’s half past the time I should have caught a cab back home and a quarter til when nothing good happens. The intoxicating smell of sin and the sound of sirens fill the air. As I stumble past the Go-Go, I see the neon reflection of a sign touting 40 taps, and that’s 40 more than I need right now. But I can’t resist – I cross the road and enter.

Across the bar an exotic Bavarian brunette catches my eye, they say she’s rich and a little nutty, with a voluptuous body. I’m intrigued, but move on. The bartender asks, “What’s your poison, stranger?” I reply, “Buddy, I’m behind the eight ball and looking for something dark, sultry, and smooth from the Golden State. Make it a double.” Sam tells me, “It sounds to me like you need the 8 Ball Stout, made by Lost Coast Brewery, located up past The Rock.”

The stout pours and Sam winks as he says, “This looks right up your alley, stranger, you look like a Lost Coast kind of guy.” A couple of tables down there’s a man with a hat and a notebook, he was at the last joint too. He approaches and asks what I’m up to so I tell him, “Just a lowly suds scribe grabbing a drink at the local waterin’ hole. What’s it to you, fella?” He tells me he’s been studying the 8 Ball Stout for a while now and could use a guy like me. I’m just glad he’s not a gumshoe or carrying a shiv. I open my trap, “Well, you know, it’s the color of night with a tan head. Alluring scents of mocha fill the air like Nestlé perfume. Roasted barley and chocolate flavors charm the kisser with sweet malt and dark fruit lurking in the background. Astringent and bone dry black malt makes itself known next, concluding with satisfying notes of molasses and coffee. Silky, complex, smooth, and respectable — it could be just what you need on a night like this.” Another pint or six and I’m out door.

The intoxicating smell of sin and the sound of sirens still fill the air… who knows where I’ll end up next.

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