As I pull this Poltergeist Foreign Style Stout from the cool confines of my refrigerator and pop off the cap, I wonder…
Who even brewed this? What’s all this jibberjabber foreign text printed on the bottle? Why’s the bottle such a weird shape? Why am I drinking a super dark beer on such a hotass day?
As a lifelong fan of Steven Spielberg – *cough* – uh, I mean, Tobe Hooper’s 1982 film of the same name, I immediately knew I would be buying this bottle of Poltergeist when I came across it at the store. I couldn’t quite decipher who had brewed it from the label, but I saw the word “stout” along with a horrifying, beer-wielding clown being reached for by a spectral skeleton hand emanating from the static of a television screen, so, YUP, into the grocery basket it goes!
After a bit of Google-sleuthing, I discovered that Poltergeist stout was brewed by Freigeist Bierkultur, an experimental offshoot of Cologne, Germany’s tiny Braustelle brewpub. In collaboration with Oxbow Brewing Company of Maine and Pizza Port Brewing of California, they’ve brewed up a spooky good stout here. A stout they shipped halfway across the world so it could be purchased solely on the design of the beer label.
It poured as inky black as a the inside of a coffin buried six feet beneath a suburban housing development. With nearly no head to speak of, I could tell already that this one would be light on carbonation. Sticking my schnoz in the glass, it smelled very roasty upfront with wafts of cocoa and prunes and (thankfully) absolutely no hint of ghost, specter or corpse. So far, I am please with my purchase.
Poltergeist tastes roasted and rich but sweet. It’s low in the carbonation front and surprisingly light-bodied for a beer this dark… not thick or cloying in the least. The roasted malts are accompanied by a mild acidity and an unexpected tartness. While it says nothing of this on the label, I discovered on the Internets that this was brewed with mussel shells. This gives the beer a briny, yet somehow fruity taste, as if it were brewed with dried plums or figs and not the crusty exoskeletons of slimy sea-tongues. Although mussel shells may seem a tad unappealing, as long as “foreign style” isn’t secretly German slang for “brewed with rainwater from a corpse-filled mud-pool”, I give this one two thumbs up in the taste department.
ABV is 8%, so higher than a lot of standard brews but not quite reaching take-a-nap-after-a-pint levels of booziness. You’ll feel some of that alcohol hitting your brains after you down one, but if you paid as much as I did for a bottle, I doubt you’ll be slamming a ton of these in a single sitting.
As far as stouts go, this one is light, sweet, tart, and easy drinking. And you get a free spooky beer bottle with every purchase! This one will be going in my bedroom!
I can’t wait to throw a jacket over it every night before I go to sleep.