When Germany adopted the Reinheitsgebot purity law in 1516, they were making the declaration that the only ingredients allowed in beer were barley, hops and water. Now that we live in more enlightened times, brewers throw everything but the kitchen sink into the brew kettle in an effort to stand out in a crowded craft beer marketplace. I know what you’re saying: “sure, my bottle shop carries beers made with kumquats, lemon verbena and shellfish, but for the love of God, why can’t I buy a beer made with pasta?” Wish no more, because Italy’s Brewfist has you covered with their Spaghetti Western Imperial Stout.
Spaghetti Western is actually a joint venture between Brewfist and Oklahoma’s Prairie Artisan Ales. Both breweries were pouring at Rome’s EurHop, and they share the same distributor, so a collaboration made perfect sense. This beer is appropriately named in honor of the Spaghetti Western movies of the 1960’s, since this is another fine example of Italians mixing it up with the American frontier.
The spaghetti in Spaghetti Western is more of a gimmick than anything, since the Prairie Artisan Ales staff fessed up that there was only a small amount of pasta in the mash tun. If you move past the gimmick of noodles in the wort, you’ll find that Spaghetti Western is a rich, flavorful stout. The beer pours thick and jet black with strong aromas of coffee and chocolate. But it isn’t sickeningly sweet, as the chocolate flavors lean more towards the bitter side of the cacao spectrum with a nice coffee backbone.
Does Spaghetti Western fall into the category of a gimmick beer? If you consider that they probably just threw a few handfuls of pasta into the brew kettle, then it probably is a bit gimmicky. Just because it’s a gimmick beer, however, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good gimmick beer. This is a quality stout with a fun name. And I’m curious about what they did with with the pasta after draining the wort. I’ll bet it was tasty.
Brewery: Brewfist/Prairie Artisan Ales
City: Cadogno, Italy?/Tulsa, Oklahoma
Style: Imperial Stout