Stillwater at Two Roads (Stratford Ct.) Stillwater is Nothing Big Bunny is Everything.
Date: Sept. 24 , 2018
The Story–. There are two stories behind this beer.
Stillwater is a gypsy (contract) brewery that has brought Brian Strumke global fame and , we hope, some measure of fortune. He’s earned it. Brian is who I’d like to think I might be if I didn’t have a day job, but in truth, he’s edgier, funnier , funkier, and quite probably a lot smarter than I am. He’s flourished in a market that has been kind to only a handful of contract brewers – Pete’s Wicket and Tuppers’ Hop Pocket had their success in earlier less crowded markets.
Brian has worked with a host of breweries to produce a plethora of out of the box beers. They haven’t all been exceptionally drinkable, but that’s part of his shtick. Far more often his beers manage to straddle the line between interesting and enjoyable. There are similarities to what Mikkeler has done in contract brewing around the world, but overall from our notes, Strumpke has been more consistently enjoyable.
Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, Connecticut brews its own beers, but also brews for the biggest names in contract brewing. An expanded plant welcomes brewers with more ideas than capital and they’ve done a remarkable job of bringing those ideas to tasty fruition. There have been missteps — some of their fruit beers are best hastily forgotten- but the 60 plus beers we’ve tasted from them have far more triumphs than misfortunes. Strumpke has brewed good beers in several breweries, but it seems Two Roads has been the best meeting of the minds.
We found this gem at Half Time Liquors in Poughkeepsie, New York, one of the best beer stores anywhere. WE make a pilgrimage there three or four times a year.
The Beer–It’s a rich, dark, chocolaty, and fruity stout. A clean rich dark roast starts while hops add slight pine and eventually more fruit. Some slightly sweet echoes of orange peel blend beautifully with the dark chocolate malt. And besides, we like bunnies.
Value — Very good to excellent. At 3.23 for a can of this 8% elixir you can approach Nirvana on a budget.
COMING UP NEXT– More great American beers. Later, we’ll return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE 2018– Surprisingly good beer in “bad beer cities.” The best we’ve found in researching our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.)
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.