BREWER: Magic Rock Brewing, West Yorkshire
VESSEL: 330ml tin
If you could please just take a look at the bottom of the tin in the picture that Muse on Booze have provided for you.
Surreal describes something that’s a bizarre mix of elements, often jarring and seemingly nonsensical.
To call your stout Dark Arts is fine with me, not that you care what I think Magic Rock, but to describe your stout as surreal is just odd, though maybe that’s the point. Certainly got the noggin whirring before I had even lifted the ring pull on this one I have to say.
If this beer was to live up to its description it would have to be as the sentence at the top says, and I’m really not sure that would be a good thing. And if this stout didn’t live up to its description of surreal then frankly the whole unnecessary inclusion of the adjective would be pretty annoying to be honest. I mean not as annoying as walking all the way to the end of one’s 200ft driveway to fetch the Aston only to realise that one had forgotten their flippin car keys, but annoying nonetheless. However, should Magic Rock manage to pull off the unthinkable and deliver a good yet surreal beer then I’d be pretty impressed. I mean not as impressed as I would be by a cool cat pulling doughnuts in a convertible white XR3i, but impressed nonetheless.
Well first things first this beer smells great. An invisible cloud of coffee and cherry heads towards your hooter as soon as the tin is cracked and that only intensifies as you pour into the glass.
From the off taste wise I was initially taken aback. I didn’t really know what had happened. Had I enjoyed it? Was it surreal? What flavour was I picking up? Was this a decent beer? I literally had no idea. So I went in again this time concentrating a little harder. Nope still no clue. And to be honest it took me the whole beer to really get to a conclusion of events and opinion.
So it turns out this stout IS surreal AND very good BUT not necessarily to my taste hence the confusion. The body is thin but the flavour is big which is where the mind begins to get a little boggled. Regarding the taste itself, well it’s a journey on the palate. Dark Arts begins soft, creamy and smooth. It then goes into the next stage which I’m going to call the break as nothing happens but all this is doing is preparing the taste buds for the massive liquorice finale. It’s quite the thing let me tell you.
It is because of the liquorice flavour that I don’t particularly like this brew but that is just my personal taste. Taking a step back from that I believe we are dealing with a very well brewed clever beer here with a description that sums it up to a tee.
Jymi’s Rating: 79%
Right, Dark Arts, a stout, unsurprisingly, is well named. There’s no getting away from it; it’s a good name for a stout. And the nose is what you might hope for: heady deep, dark coffee. But there’s also the hint of chocolate there in the background.
Those flavours carry through into the drinking. The interesting thing about Dark Arts is that it’s not as heavy as the nose might suggest. That’s not to say it’s not heavy, because it most certainly is first up. But not as heavy as you might expect. And the finish is actually very light and crisp. Together, this heavy first mouthfeel supported by the lighter support act is very nice.
The brew is well balanced. Dark Arts is an enjoyable stout. It’s got everything you’d expect. It’s definitely not sessionable, but it most definitely is entirely enjoyable.
Think winter. Think fire. Think stout.
Dark Arts ticks the boxes that it needs to. It’s like a nap on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon. It knows where it belongs and it’s very happy there.
Happy, festive, days.
Sammy’s Rating: 81%
MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 80%
MOB review next weekend: JAIPUR by THORNBRIDGE
MOB SQUAD’S SECOND OUTING IS ONE WEEK AWAY AND THEY ARE TAKING A LOOK AT THAT ORANGE TINNED BEER ABOVE