Saturday, 4 July 2015

Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale

I suspect it will be impossible for me to drink a pint of Left Field Brewery's Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale without thinking about Richard Pryor in the role of down and out pitcher Montgomery Brewster in the cinematic classic Brewster's Millions. The slow, lazy, high-arcing pitch that Pryor/Brewster tosses to baffle opponents is the Eephus (though I don't recall the word ever being uttered in the film).

So we have a beer named in honour of a junk pitch that comes from a Torontonian brewery with a baseball hang up. I was immediately interested.

I purchased a sixer of 473mL cans at the brewery's bottle shop after a visit to the joint. Eephus pours a creamy deep brown, with amber highlights. It decanted with a nice layer of eggshell head, though it barely made it out of the first inning. There is a mellow but engrossing aroma that is reminiscent of warm cocoa and cool chocolate milk. Despite its pedigree as an American Brown Ale, Eephus' flavour is initially milk stout-like, with molasses and mocha notes dominating the front end, though there is a bitter, cigar smoke back end that keeps things interesting through the finish and prevents the beer from succumbing to over-sweetness.

At 5.5%, Eephus isn't troublesome, and combined with a velvety mouthfeel, it's definitely an easy-going brew. Its oatmeal is delivered through the inclusion of flaked oats. These provide a grainy, well roasted, and earthy quality that adds a bit of charm.

While Eephus isn't perfect, it sure is a winner. Like its namesake, this brew is a strikeout pitch that has the potential to leave even veteran hitters whirling around harmlessly in the batter's box. Give me a bit more nutty oomph and a touch more boozy heat if you please, but even failing that, this beer is on the verge of being genuinely remarkable.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10.

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