Grand Teton Brewing Black Cauldron

  (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

 

Grand Teton Brewing Black Cauldron

Lagers and light ales for summer, dark brews in winter. That's as much an established principle — or cliché — as white wine with white meat, red wine with red. But for its summer seasonal, Grand Teton makes the very darkest sort of ale, a Russian imperial stout. Let's play along and see what it's up to.

Black Cauldron pours very dark, practically black, with a dark tan head. It has a slight citrus and dried-fruit nose, but this beer is really about roasted flavors (from two varieties of caramel malt and a little bit of rauchbier-style smoked malt). It hits the palate like a really concentrated espresso with a hint of chocolate, raisin and maybe root beer. The effect is so powerful you expect a syrupy aftertaste, but the finish, though long, is mild and scarcely sweet.

So this turns out to be a summer beer after all — a barbecue beer. It positively cries out for grilled steak. And it has such a concentrated flavor you could stick with it through the ice cream.

— Charles Perry

Quick sip

Style: A dryish stout with an overwhelming dose of roasted flavors.

Price: $9.99 per four-pack.

Where to find it: Red Carpet Wine in Glendale (800) 339-0609; http://www.redcarpetwine.com; Wades Wines in Westlake Village (818) 597-9463, http://www.wadeswines.com; Beverages & More, for locations visit http://www.bevmo.com.