By Rachel Simons
Photo by Rachel Simons.
Omen Belgian Style Raspberry Stout
City of Origin: Seattle, Washington
Beer Type: Belgian Stout
Unfortunately for beer lovers, the most frustrating and exciting aspect of our passion is that no matter how many beers you actively search for and sample, there will always be more that you have yet to experience. Elysian Brewery appeared briefly on my radar in 2013 when they were featured in an episode of Brew Dogs on Esquire Network, but I had not actually gotten to try out one of their beers until now.
A remake of an old recipe from 2012, Omen is a stout brewed with classic Belgian yeast and locally grown Washington raspberries. As far as beer styles go, stouts will always be my favorite, but Belgians are kind of hit or miss for me. It’s not that they are necessarily bad, it’s just that there is almost always a grainy aftertaste from the mix of spices that overwhelms my palate. It makes that type of beer taste like nothing else.
With Omen, however, the yeast may be Belgian, but the flavors are everything you would expect from a dark and fudgy stout. Though seven varieties of malts were used, the coffee, chocolate, and black malts are definitely the most noticeable. The tang of the Washington raspberries are there, but has more of a subtle suggestion rather than a fruity punch to the taste buds.
For me, drinking this beer was like eating a dark chocolate bar with a high cacao percentage and just a hint of sweetness. Instead of stealing the show, the raspberry simply adds complexity of flavor and complements the bitter coffee notes to make this beer even richer and more decadent. The brewers at Elysian decided to let the ingredients speak for themselves and the final product certainly showcases this.
Ultimately, if you–like me–are a person who wants their stouts to contain nothing but delicious, full-bodied, cocoa-y goodness, then this is totally a beer that you need to pick up and try.
Regrettably, Omen was only brewed for a limited release, but Elysian is promising that this is just the first in a brand new series of dark beers to be sold throughout the year. Included in this list will be a wood aged imperial stout called The Dread and a tweaked version of the chocolate coffee stout they made on Brew Dogs, which won them a silver medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. The gift of brand new beer just keeps on giving.