Actually, this is Beer of Last Week. Just couldn't get the post finished Friday night.
Allow me another chance to plug Duluth's Best of Brews. It's Thomas Creek month at the Gwinnett growler stop. And if you're not familiar with this brewery they do a lot of "freelance" work brewing recipes for others. For instance, I believe Decatur's Wild Heaven brews it's beers through Thomas Creek among others. In addition, Thomas Creek has their own selection of great craft beer including Up the Creek and Dockside Pilsner.
All that to say, Greg at Best of Brews had Thomas Creek brew this special beer for his patrons. Midnight Train to Duluth is obviously a tribute to the train tracks that run right through the city's stylish downtown. And the beer chugs along well too.
Listed as a cream ale, I had some preconceived notions of a sweet beer with a lot of flavors. And I pick up some caramel on the aroma after the pour. Overall this does have plenty of flavor, lots of vanilla and malty caramel give each taste a creaminess. But the taste doesn't linger long, as the vanilla dissipates leaving a sticky goodness on your lips and tongue.
In the interest of full disclosure, I love vanilla. I like to think I'm one of the major reasons Vanilla Coke lasted a full three years instead of one. Plus Breckinridge's Vanilla Porter is one of my favorite beers overall. The vanilla taste in that one is deep and smooth. I get that with Midnight but it takes a little more work. And although I drank both of those this weekend I should refrain from comparing them because they are vastly different.
The Midnight has more alcohol and there are times when you can taste that a little too much. Once it warmed up some it was a little easier to pick up the roastiness and the malt flavor. I like the way the vanilla doesn't overwhelm the ale, simply gives it an anchor on your taste buds.
Final thoughts: this one is very drinkable, smooth and packs a nice punch at 6% ABV. My guess is that Midnight Train to Duluth is a heartier version of the Thomas Creek "Vanilla Cream Ale", but I've never had the latter. The Midnight is a little pricier than I expected, but a good brew nonetheless.
**Since Son of a Peach is the official brew of BDB, I feel it necessary to pass along that Best of Brews will have it starting sometime this week. Get there before I do or it might be gone.
Just kidding. Not really.