Intro: You are probably familiar with the beer scientist, my bro Mike, but this is my official debut on Thank Heaven for Beer as Rich, the Beer Connoisseur. As most of you know, Mike left cold, cloudy Indiana for warm, sunny California. I am still in the frigid Midwest, but with my location, I have access to local breweries and their seasonal releases. One of these local goodies is Upland Brewery, out of Bloomington, IN. I am only a short trip away, so when Mike told me to check out their seasonal release of Teddy Bear Kisses Imperial Stout, I made it a point to grab a growler (they only sell glasses at the brewery, NOT this time). Teddy Bear Kisses? Sounds like a chocolaty gift you would give a significant other around Valentines Day, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not Valentine’s Day, nor a chocolaty gift I handed out. It is a sweet Imperial Stout that I had a chance to check out and share with you.
Pour: When I first poured the Teddy Bear Kisses into my glasses, I instantly noticed a dark, murky color. This beer is far from transparent. I was a bit surprised the beer wasn’t that thick in consistency and didn’t temporarily stain my glass, like other Imperial Stouts do. This beer resembled motor oil that hadn’t been changed in about 50,000 miles from an old clunker. The head was beige in color, similar to sand, and didn’t stick around too long.
Nose: Teddy Bear Kisses has a lot going on. The very first thing I picked up on was the sweet smell of molasses. To me, this was by FAR the most prevalent smell. Also, the smell of alcohol was quite present at first sniff. Another interesting note on the nose was a fruit of some sort. I want to say the fruit was similar to that of a cherry. Of course, I picked up on the coffee and cocoa undertones. Overall, Upland’s Teddy Bear Kisses was pleasing on the nose.
Taste: This is my favorite part of the review! Even though Teddy Bear Kisses wasn’t as thick as most Imperial Stouts I’ve had, it still had the thickness that let’s you know you are drinking a full, rich beer. The molasses that was present on the nose was just as noticeable on the tongue and provided a sweet, smoky flavor. Alcohol? Definitely. Alcohol was definitely incorporated in the taste. The slight hint of fruit came back full circle along with malty, coffee and cocoa flavors. Another taste I picked up was a bready aftertaste. With each sip, it felt like I had eaten some full-grain bread. Bitterness? I would say it was in the middle of the road. The beer’s finish wasn’t too dry and didn’t leave me thirsty after a drink.
Overall Thoughts: Overall, I think Upland’s Teddy Bear Kisses is an alright beer. It’s hard to identify exactly what was missing, but I can say that there were some things a bit too overwhelming. I think the taste of molasses (sweet/sour/smoky) was way overbearing and the presence of the alcohol took away from other flavors coming through. I would definitely get it again if I stopped at Upland to grab a bit to eat, but I wouldn’t search Indiana high and low to find it. I hope you have found this review helpful and I look forward to making another appearance in the near future.
Among other Imperial Stouts: