Jan. 15 2014 12:00 AM

I drink it so you don't have to -- you still probably should, though

Modern Times Beer is on some kind of crazy roll lately. First it expanded its sales into Los Angeles, and then it announced that it's already getting a North Park tasting room. That rate of expansion is bordering on Starbucksian. In fact, I'm not even sure it's worth your time to travel to the brewery, because, mathematically speaking, the company will be opening six or seven tasting rooms in your neighborhood any day now.

If Modern Times' conquest of the world is truly inevitable, we're all long overdue to become acquainted with its beers. I've opted to start with Black House, an oatmeal coffee stout. The first thing I notice about Black House is the can's crisp, bright design that loudly communicates how discerning my taste is compared with others before I've even left the market. In fact, on closer inspection, the can is just riddled with clever prose ("Taste the OCD!") and humble-brags ("Nifty fact: we're one of the only breweries in the world to roast our own coffee"). This can has so much damn personality that people are bound to assume I'm clever by association. If nothing else, Modern Times has succeeded in crafting a can that can substantially augment the charisma of its possessor.

Thankfully, Black House isn't just another pretty face. This virtually opaque stout is has a satisfying espresso aroma. It resonates as real coffee, not merely a vaguely roasty and earthy smell. The flavor complements that experience, again delivering a dry espresso note with dark chocolate, raw sugar and Whoppers. It has a creamy texture to it, but not the kind of fullness that would have you mistaking it for a frappucino.

This beer is basically a love song to coffee and is, quite frankly, one of my new favorites. Enjoy one soon, perhaps during one of the brewery's upcoming movie nights.


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