Say Nowt About the Darkness

by Jim Lundstrom

“The twisted trees sing Dark, dark, dark”

So opens the song “Dark, Dark, Dark” from The Mekons’ 2007 album Natural. It somehow came to mind as I haunted the beer aisles of a well stocked Fox Valley liquor store. Among all those beers calling out to me, I was glad to have The Mekons singing in my head. It made things a little easier.
Once my course had been set, it became much easier. Immediately, a goofy Picasso-ish face popped out from a label. It’s a mustachioed man looking out at us while a hand reaches out to keep the face from talking? That’s my guess.
The name of this oddly labeled beer is Say Nowt Stout. “Nowt” to a Yorkshireman means “nothing,” as in this first line of the Yorkshire motto:  “Ear all, see all, say nowt.”
Yes, please, I thought to a stout from Yorkshire, but upon examining the bottle I learn that Say Nowt Stout is Irish, from the Reel Deel Brewery, which identifies its location on the bottle as County Mayo, Ireland.
I don’t get the Yorkshire/County Mayo connection, but I like the name nonetheless.
This is a soft 4.8 percent dry stout with a good deal of roasted malty chocolate in the finish. 

Next stop for my easily seduced eyeballs was flaming pink type against a black background – Samoa This, it said.
Well, that tells me nothing. Upon closer examination this is a part of the Blackwater Series from Southern Tier Brewing Co. It’s an imperial stout and, the label tells us, “a dessert beer.” That last bit almost put me off the whole concept, but, then, dessert beers, or pastry stouts,  re allowing brewers to throw donuts and birthday cake into their big beers.

OK. I still do not get the Samoa conection. Am I just thick?
Oh, yeah, the Girl Scout Samoa cookies. This beer is brewed with pink Himalayan sea salt, which, as far as I know, has nothing at all to do with Girl Scout Samoas, but the rest of the added ingredients do – caramel, chocolate and coconut.
I’m not certain if I would have bought this beer had I realized the Girl Scout cookie connection in the liquor store, but I did not make the connection until several days later, when I actually sat down and sampled ne of the beers from the four pack.
Back in another century when I worked as a reporter in Hawaii, I had many connections with Samoans, so my mind was trying to understand how Samoa, the island nation, could have a connection with imperial stout. The tropical nature of coconuts?
Well, I’m glad that conundrum has been resolved.
Lots of fun flavors going on in this beer. Yes, it is something of a liquid Samoa. It will make your lips stick together, but not enough that it will stop you from taking another lovely sip of this candy bar of a beer.
Did I mention that Southern Tier has yet to let me down, and I believe their Crème Brulee Stout is a true masterpiece? Now, if I could just get my hands on some of their Concord Grape Sour.