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Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2014)

in Libation Station  · 

Well, it's not too different from the previous years, and that's fine. Stone's Imperial Russian Stout has always been a favorite, and as we haven't talked about it in a few years, we figured it was time to celebrate its greatness again.

Everything here is as it should be: the pitch black pour and the tan head greet you with a warm embrace, stroking your hair, telling you how beauty is about more than a bag flowing in the wind. Beauty, it seems, is what you're about to imbibe.

Notes of roast and anise dance on the nose, playing hacky sack with the chocolate and coffee. The flavor reflects all of this, making for a deep, flavorful 10.5% ABV ride.

Yada, yada, yada. You already knew all of that. The flavors haven't really changed much over the years. There is one thing, though, that has improved, and I am happily surprised that it has.

My main issue with the previous IRSs has been the mouthfeel—great as the flavors might have been, the mouthfeel really didn't measure up. Not a huge deal, I know, but I like my imperial stouts thick.

And this year Stone really has hit that home better than they did over the previous years. It will still need to be aged to reach its optimal level, of course, but I was surprised exactly how thick the 2014 felt, right off the bat.

That sets this year's edition apart for me. It's tasty as always—no surprise there—but this (to some) minor detail makes a difference.

Of course, the price of the beer has steadily increased, too. I'm not quite cynical enough to blame Stone for that, but we're close to what I'd consider to be a pretty steep point. Something to keep in mind.

It's worth it, though. The Imperial Russian Stout is a great beer. Go drink it, and be appropriately happy.


in The Great Burger Chase  · 
 ·  916 S Hatch St, Spokane, WA 99202

It's in a location one would assume would see little traffic, but Wisconsinburger seems to have become a destination. And deserved it is, to start with the conclusion: these are the best sub-$10 burgers we've tried on this Great Burger Chase, an honor («honor», I say!) which I feel will stick for a good while.

The whole concept is well thought out, from a locale that beautifully screams Wisconsin—we assume all they do there is bowl and eat burgers—down to a clean, easy to read, non-turducken-ed logo. 

Even the to-go packaging is cool, see-through and all.

Of course, all of this would mean preciously little, had the burgers not been of the quality they are. Frankly, I was unsure what to expect. Butter burgers? It sounds a bit overpowering.

Yet, that's not the case. The flavors are clean, almost delicate, and surprisingly… Light? Fluffy? Point being, it does not feel like fast-food at all. This is a good gourmet-like burger, at a very reasonable price.

In terms of general comparison, I'd say Manito's ranks higher—though not by much—yet Churchill's doesn't quite measure up. We can see Wisconsinburger becoming a Spokane mainstay. Good quality at a reasonable price. It's very Spokane.

And do try the fried cheese curds. They might give you a heart attack, but it's probably worth it.

It is off the beaten path, Wisconsinburger, but the Perry-ites don't seem to mind. The place was packed during our visit, and well deserved that is. No worries if you don't find a place to sit: the burgers travel just fine.

Wisconsinburger, then, ranks highly on our Burger Chase list. We're fans, and we expect you to be too.

Photo courtesy of the Great Burger Chase’s official photography studio, Erick Doxey Photography.

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