LHG x Uiltje Brewing - King Of The Woodlands
In a previous blog [The Star Spangled Banger] I covered the amazing Woodland Creatures, a luxurious Pistachio and Honeycomb milk stout by Bristol’s Left Handed Giant and Haarlem, NL’s Uiltje Brewery. Not long after I wrote that blog I discovered that there was due to be an Imperial version released, which very quickly became my white whale. Much like Melville’s monomaniacal Captain Ahab, I unsuccessfully pursued King Of The Woodland for the last couple of years, finding it to be sold out everywhere I looked whenever I heard a batch was doing the rounds, but at long last my fanatical zeal persevered and I happened to successfully secure a case for our shop!
Fearing that I’d been building myself up for a fall, I approached King Of The Woodlands with a degree of apprehension, as I wasn’t exactly looking to figuratively replicate the unceremonious end of Old Thunder, dragged down to the briny deeps of disappointment, but what I found was far from disheartening.
Immediately upon opening the can I was washed over by the thick, rich aromas of what I can only liken to big, thick, boozy Doctor Pepper. With this tantalising initial waft I was immediately compelled to get pouring, a moment that I’d been yearning for for the last two years. It poured like crude oil, viscous, murky black with a tight dark copper head (which mostly dissipated within the first 15 minutes). I couldn’t help but notice that when amped up to 12.5%ABV the Pistachio and Honeycomb dream takes on very prominent almond and marzipan notes, somewhat reminiscent of Amaretto. On the palate that marzipan-esque motif continues, with supporting accents of cinder toffee, almost like a melted Crunchie bar rolled in crushed Pistachios and Almonds. It’s unabashedly boozy, but having been ramped up to such a considerable ABV it’s clearly meant to be, and the booziness certainly adds a dimension to the experience that made me wistfully daydream about how incredible a Barrel Aged version would be. (Emperor of the Woodland anybody?)
Stout season may well be on its way out for most, but for the brave and the bold, stout season never truly ends, and if you’re a year-round dark beer fan like me, then I implore you to pay tribute to the King (of the Woodland)! You most certainly won’t regret it.