Well, thanks for putting Simon & Garfunkel in my head ever since I cracked a can, Stone & Wood. Ah well, nothing a burst of Bonnie "Prince" Billy can't remedy. Although... can I see a darkness?
The fourth Counter Culture release from Stone & Wood is one that brings to mind both the wine world's Riedel blind tasting glassware and black IPAs, with So Long Darkness..? their attempt to create a mind-bender that isn't as it seems. It's a pale stout: a beer with a character at odds with its appearance. It's not the first we've tried from Aussie brewers but it is up there with the palest, almost Munich lager like in its wan complexion.
So, where does the stout come in? Well, there's coffee and roasty aromas, plus a sweetness that's both creamy and vanilla like (the brewers added unmilled coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and lactose). It's not as sharp in terms of roast or bitterness, or as chocolatey, as one might expect of a dark grain-derived stout; if anything, blindfolded you'd put it in sweet stout or coffee brown ale territory. Actually, if you knew my dad's coffee order: a latte shot through with a dash of syrup, you wouldn't be too far off either.