With a strapline more like a shopping list than a beer, there’s a lot going on with Midnight Stack. It’s a creamy nitro stout that starts full of lactose but leaves you with spiced maple flavours on the finish. Midnight Stack contains gluten and is not suitable for vegans.
I like Christmas. New Year is pretty great too, when there isn’t a deadly pandemic stopping you from boogying the night away. Beneath the partying and losing track of whose present is whose there’s an underlying sense of order. A schedule. Fixed dates.
Easter, by contrast, confuses the hell out of me. I used to have a fighting chance to figure out when it was because chocolate eggs would appear in the shops a week or two before; now those eggs line the shelves starting January 2nd. I don’t even know what a shrove is, let alone when Shrove Tuesday is.
The upshot of this confusion is that I missed Pancake Day. While I can take or leave the chocolate eggs, I am a fiend for any breakfast food that it’s socially acceptable to drench in both maple syrup and butter, and for a day of the year celebrating that delicious concoction. Disappointed and frustrated, I have to settle for guzzling this treat in beer form instead.
Unlike the sneaky and unpredictable Pancake Day, there was no chance of me missing Midnight Stack on the shelves. The garish yellow and purple label is the sort of thing a clown would wear to a “badly dressed” party (remember when parties were a thing?). Still, I have a lot of time for Siren and their stouts. There’s no way I was missing this one just because of an ugly label.
“Pour fast and hard”, the label commanded. Reader, I thought I was pouring hard and fast. If I’d treated any normal beer with that kind of reckless lackadaisicality I’d have been treated to a sticky puddle on my table and possibly floor. Paralysed by fear, I poured a little less fast and hard than required and thus missed out on the beautiful cascade effect characteristic of nitro beers.
Still, Midnight Stack looks alright. A black, clear body with a thick, firm, creamy head. Despite all that foam, there’s still a clear aroma of sweet lactose and drinking chocolate. Those are the notes dominating on the palate too, at first, leaving me wondering where on earth the promised maple flavour might be hiding.
Then it hits. Syrupy, spicy, aromatic; the maple flavour takes a little while to kick in, but when it arrives it kicks the doors in.
In the nicest possible way, the best part of Midnight Stack comes after you’ve finished drinking it. The aroma and the first hit on the palate are nothing special. But that spiced, woody maple emerges after three or four seconds in the mouth, then hangs around on the finish long after each sip.
Midnight Stack is an interesting beer. It’s not something you’d want to drink all night, in spite of the sessionable 4.2% alcohol content, but it’s certainly an experience. Guinness drinkers in particular will enjoy the aroma and mouthfeel, but get to try something new and interesting with the maple finish. A steal, at £3.50 a can from Sainsbury’s, even if you only plan on drinking one.