Sweetwater Brewing Company Happy Ending

February 23, 2011

All good things must come to an end. The rebel alliance defeats the dark forces of the Empire, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series finishes with Earth being destroyed again, The Clash got fed up with each other after “Combat Rock”, the General’s Burgers on Cervantes closed years ago (you know you’ve been here a while when you can proudly say you used to get their tasty tasty burgers).

Oh, and I’m leaving Pensacola.

All right, all right… put away the Kleenex, quit tying the rope into a noose. I’m only heading down the road a bit. And to a familiar environment, too. For the time being I’ll be over at the Mobile Hopjacks helping them through the hectic Mardi Gras season and to guide them into their potential as a stand-alone restaurant. Also, to happily find silver linings in such situations, I’ll not only continue to scribe this very column… I’ve now got a whole new slew of brew to review. Wow, now that’s alliteration!

I thought I’d talk about Sweetwater Brewery’s Happy Ending imperial stout. To me, the ending of one thing implies the beginning of another. The epitome of a happy ending is, well, in its name. Finishing a situation or event with positive consequences. In the case of Sweetwater’s Happy Ending, we find ourselves at the end of winter and the end of Carnival. Spring and Lent are right around the corner. Renewal, change and possibility are coming.

That last chilly push of winter in the South that leaves us with dreamily foggy nights in late February is the perfect time for this type of beer. And yes, if you’re gonna go all “Party Gras” and do the atypical overindulging, it’s got the octane and the body to suit your palate. Happy Ending is Sweetwater’s winter seasonal offering packed with toasty malts deep-roasted for that dark stout body and flavor. Even the foam head looks like espresso crema. Huge blasts of dark chocolate, caramel and mocha erupt out of the glass alongside a massive piney hop presence. Secondary dry-hopping with Cascade and sticky Simcoe hops amplifies the already bitter quality from the roasted grains and delivers a balanced and flavorful imperial stout. Sweetwater deserves a big hand for this beer.

Happy Ending? Naah, it’s just the beginning. And I believe I’ll have another beer. Cheers, Pensacola.