I was particularly glad to return to Spencer’s Stadium Tavern for Roundtable #32. I used to be a Thursday night regular as part of Drinking Liberally, so it was great to return and hang out with Jason and the gang. This was also the second time the Knights have convened at Spencer’s for a review.
Spencer’s hasn’t changed much since its humble beginnings back in 2005 (this location has been a bar in some form since 1933!). It’s stayed the same cozy bar with dark red walls, excellent food and an admirable beer selection. Sure, you can get ‘football’ beer, and Old Style is featured prominently, but head bartender/manager/all around badass Dustin keeps the cooler and taps well-stocked with Beer Geek favorites.
The Knights in attendance (Jim, Gina, Mike and I) warmed up with Ellie’s Brown Ale from Avery Brewing. Like Jim, I usually warm up at Roundtables with something easy to drink, and this beer didn’t disappoint. Something in it (the dark chocolate, perhaps?) reminded me a lot of the Brugge Black Belgian Dark Ale. Chewy and sweet, with a slight hop bite at the end, this was a great precursor to the main event.
We chose a round of Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout for our reviewed beer. We got this round before I was even halfway through the Ellie’s Brown, which turned out to be a good thing since this stout was served way too cold. It took a good twenty minutes before I could really get a nose from the glass, but once I did, I got the usual chocolate-malty notes, with spicy undertones.
(As an aside: It reminded me of the smell you get when you open a box of Whoppers – and I really don’t like malted milk balls. When I was a kid, my dad used to hide malted milk ‘jellybeans’ in my Easter basket, and laugh at me as I found the “surprises”. Ugh.)
The best way I can describe the taste of this beer is... average. Meh. Okay, even. I was expecting more of a chocolaty, roasted taste, but instead I could just taste the nagging, sort-of-sour flavor that really turns me off of most milk stouts. I realize that I’m an outlier, though, and encourage fans of cream and milk stouts to try this one for themselves. 2.5 mugs.