Mother Earth Brews Something Special
by Chrissy Cooper
I was really excited when I noticed that a couple of local breweries had released chocolate mint stouts and since I already know of a couple chocolate mint beers that I like from other parts of the country, it only made sense to tell you about some chocolate mint stouts. However, after trying both of the local chocolate mint stouts, both which were fairly disappointing, I learned that you definitely can’t judge a chocolate mint stout on its description alone… I know I know, I should know better. While checking out one of the local chocolate mint stouts at their brewery, I found, while perusing their bottle selection, a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Mint Chocolate Milk Stout and a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Graham Cracker Stout with Cranberries from Mother Earth Brewing, with which I had previously had a good tasting experience of one of their other beers, Sin-Tax. Sin-Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout is one of my favorite peanut butter beers with a lot of depth and flavor.
Mother Earth started out in 2010 as a family home brewing operation in their garage in San Diego County and it has grown into “a family business in which husbands, wives, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and cousins collected their talents and work to establish a brand of high quality, great tasting ales,” as their website claims. In 2014, they started what is known as their Four Seasons of Mother Earth series, which releases a different beer for each season and each year the beers are different than the previous year’s beers. They are typically high octane beers, which are more often than not barrel aged; occasionally they are fun collaborations with other like-minded breweries which provide a “fun and creative outlet for [their] brewers,” and each season once they are gone, you won’t ever see them again… which sucks, believe me. There is nothing worse than finding an amazing beer that you love, only to find out that it is a one off that will never be brewed again. Which is also part of what makes beers from the Four Seasons series so special. Along with their Vista, California production facility and tasting room, in 2016 they opened another production facility and tasting room in Nampa, Idaho, just outside of Boise.
Four Seasons of Mother Earth (Winter 2019)
Mother Earth Brewing Co.; Vista, CA and Nampa, ID
Imperial Stout/ Double Milk | 10.8% ABV | No IBUs
This is the second best chocolate mint stout I have had in my microbrew lifespan. The best I have had will require a flight to the East Coast as they no longer distribute out west. Unfortunately because of the limited nature of the Four Seasons series you won’t be able to find this one for long, but you should definitely look for it. I really expected this beer to have a potent scent because of the nature of mint, but that was not the case. However, the flavor more than makes up for its light aroma. The bourbon flavor from the barrels used to age this beer comes on very strong with a nice mint flavor to balance the alcohol flavor at the beginning. Towards the middle I could taste sweet notes of vanilla with even more mint. The final taste is that of bittersweet chocolate which balances out the sweet tendencies from the barrel aging and other sweeter tastes nicely.
Four Seasons of Mother Earth (Autumn 2019)
Mother Earth Brewing Co.; Vista, CA and Nampa, ID
Imperial Stout | 11.6% ABV | No IBUs
This is one of the most surprising tasting beers I have maybe ever had… After loving Mother Earth’s Winter 2019 I was more than willing to give this one a try when I came across it at a local bottle shop. I loved it so much I tried to get a case of it from their distributor, but alas since I didn’t find it until well into Winter, there weren’t any cases left in the Vancouver area. My amazing boyfriend went back to the original bottle shop the next day and bought, what I discovered with many phone calls to local bottle shops, were most likely the last four cans in town. Mother Earth blended several bourbon barrel-aged stouts to compliment the dessert quality that they were going for with this delicious beer. The first thing that I noticed about this beer was the tart, but not too tart cranberry flavor from the cranberry puree added during the brewing process, which lends itself to a more pie cherry flavor to my taste buds.The graham cracker “crust” flavor in the middle is made with the real authentic ingredients they used — vanilla, cinnamon, and molasses — and the flavor balances perfectly with the potent, but sweet alcohol flavor left over from the barrel aging process. The overall taste of this beer is exactly like the homemade cherry pies I remember from the Christmases of my youth.
The biggest lesson learned from my encounter with these two amazing beers from Mother Earth is that I will be on the hunt for each season’s rendition of the Four Season series beers as soon as they are released… because they are going, going, going to be gone before you know it.