I usually make the error of contrasting the Rev stouts to their world class strong ales and feeling like they are second class citizens. Being compared to your own catalogue is a luxury few breweries have to suffer through. I was ignoring the context itself.
Usually the release of a barrel aged stout has this performative pageantry. Needless wax, raffles, limits. The cliché fill light photo of the bottle on a barrelhead ensconced in whatever glossy adjuncts that they threw in it. There’s this air of calm seriousness and austere luxury. It’s either that or like FUDGE TITTIES MILK STOUT like if the Jerky Boys opened a brewery.
Revolution has a different approach. They can these, put them in four packs, keep the cost low, keep the quality high and are practically error free for years. The marketing is a nod to graphic novels. The Deth series has tightly drawn hairpin turns, tapered through the chocolately leg, relying on a roasty inseam to provide this slim barrel aged silhouette.
Now enter currant. I immediately was like “oh good a Robitussin variant, sucrets in my brownies.” That isn’t what occurred. The same playful execution is handled with a gentle hand on the adjuncts. This isn’t some syrupy half melomel endeavor. The fruit has speaking lines and an IMDB credit but its not passing the Bechdel test. The currant is dry, craisin, a smack of madeira, the bakers cocoa mixes with this vinous aspect like a cherry cordial.
Instead of tasting like a lightly infected stout, berry Dr Pepper, or one of the heavy handed Goose Island fruited jaunts, it is more relaxed. Also in being “THIN” it can do what almost no modern stout can do: express carbonation in a meaningful way. For this reason the Coffee Deth was absolutely phenomenal this year and floored me.
We take it as a concession that modern stouts will be almost dead flat and then point to the residual sugars like “CO2 SIMPLY CANNOT OVERCOME THIS VISCOSITY.” Rev doesn’t do that and it feels more…English? I appreciate it remaining beer and not melted Coldstone discharge.
This wont be my go to all the time but it’s novel and tasty and I respect the sheer variety and attempts to get Chicago residents to eat produce in these trying times.