You don’t have to travel far to realize how global craft beer has become—a trip to your local grocer probably suffices. In Austin, Texas, for instance, you might stumble upon craft beers from the UK, Italy, and Mexico in between those by local brewers.
While maybe you can’t find something like Birradamare Nera from Rome everywhere just yet, the odds are likely more in your favor with Danish brewer To Øl (pronounced TO-ule). The eight-year-old brewery has grown quickly: It now distributes to 40 countries worldwide, including the US, and has earned accolades like a spot among Ratebeer’s list of the World’s Top 10 Breweries. And if those two facts add up to Goliat (2017)—To Øl’s Imperial Stout brewed with coffee—being available nearby, stock up now before other adventurous beer drinkers get curious.
Appearance and Aroma
Even in your at-home pint glass, Goliat somehow looks like one of those too-perfect-to-be-real beers from a magazine ad. A black, black, black body awaits beneath a healthy head of foam. Even the foam looks kind of appetizing: slightly brownish, the shade of coffee ice cream.
And coffee greets you as the dominant aroma before the first sip. A sleight whiff of yeast may accompany it, but this beer hits your nose truly as advertised.
Appropriately, this is a big-flavored beer meant to be savored.”
To Øl named Goliat after the famous biblical character, and the brewer’s beer blurb emphasizes things like size (“His size and stature is not human...He is bigger”) and stoic pacing (“His heart is beating slowly, almost endlessly slow”). Appropriately, this is a big-flavored beer meant to be savored.
Goliat’s first impressions are really sweet, though not overwhelmingly so. Being an imperial coffee stout, it has an intensity of flavor (maybe like how a rich cold brew would taste if warmed). And even though this is not a milk stout, there’s a creaminess to Goliat, though that sensation in no way diminishes the central flavor. Like a high-end coffee, the aftertaste carries a slight bitterness, but that quickly gets overtaken by notes of dark chocolate and toffee along for the ride.
Goliat has proved so sensational, To Øl has offered several variations over the years: Instead of coffee, this imperial stout also comes infused with sherry, bourbon, or maple bacon, for instance. Maybe the bourbon iteration would maintain Goliat coffee’s balance, but it’s hard to imagine the other finishes outdoing the original—this beer already sits right on the edge of sweetness, and pushing that further could ruin the indulgence.
To Øl’s stated purpose is to make “potent beers, packed with flavour and character.” Goliat is a strong manifestation of that ethos and a great argument for shelf-stockers to reach far beyond local beers.