Marto Brewing – 2016 Brutal Series

Dang…it’s been a long time since I found myself writing here, and there’s no better way to start things up again than with a follow up piece from an article I wrote almost a year ago, which highlighted nine homebrewers looking to open their own brewery in 2017. While all nine have made tremendous strides sine then, this post is meant to feature Erik Martin AKA Marto Brewing out of Sioux City, Iowa.

I first head about Erik through a mutual friend who was able to bring a handful of Marto beers to Dark Lord Day. While all of the beers I tried that day from Marto were solid, it was Ticonic, a sour blonde with over 50 lbs. of raspberries that was the highlight. From that point on, despite the number of times Erik mentioned the stouts he was working on, Marto was in my head a brewery that focused solely on sours.

In steps the Brutal Series. A series of seven (one base and six with adjuncts) 13.5% imperial stouts all aged in Buffalo Trace barrels. Curious to see what Erik was capable of, I decided to test out the base beer.

Pouring with a minimal head that quickly dissipates, Brutal appears almost still, leaving a faint thin amber lacing on the edges of the glass. The nose gives off an aroma of bourbon and chocolate, kinda reminding me of the 2014 bourbon county stout. The mouthfeel is quite viscous with a faint bite of carbonation. The taste is fuckng spot on. I have to admit, like I mentioned, I’ve always thought of Erik as a brewery that focused on sours, so this was a huge surprise. You get a ton of chocolate on the front end  that coats your mouth and finishes with an incredible barrel character that lingers on the finish. While Erik had mentioned he wanted to work on the mouthfeel a little more, this is pretty awesome. As it goes for  non-adjunct  barrel aged stouts, this is just a notch below the Voodoo, TG, and Side Projects over the world. I can’t wait to see what happens once Erik finally opens later this year…

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