Beer Review: 3 Sheeps Brewing Cashmere Hammer

A rich, chocolatey stout for the final chill of the winter season
photo by Kevin Gibson

One good thing about having friends that travel is that sometimes they bring you beer. My neighbor hits the road often with his band, and many times I’ll be the beneficiary of the road trip. When he left for Wisconsin for a week recently, I didn’t expect much more than some cheese curds; instead, he brought me a bottle of 3 Sheeps Brewing Cashmere Hammer. I wouldn’t think modern musicians would normally relish a tour stop in Sheboygan, but this one worked out quite well.

The brewery’s name intrigued me, and not just because it would be a cool name for a metal band. I liked the illusion of something soft meeting something, well, not so soft. It fits. This is one creamy beer, but with a flavor profile that will take your palate a bit by surprise.

Reading the brewery’s website gave me the impression the brewers at 3 Sheeps go out of their way to not make regular old beer, as they tout quality control as well as a willingness to take chances. There’s a lot of that going on in the U.S. craft beer scene, sometimes with mixed results, but based on my experience with Cashmere Hammer, these folks are doing something right.

“Because we believe the best beer you can drink is one you enjoy,” a sort-of mission statement on the site says, “and that it’s even better if you didn’t see it coming.”

Fair enough.

I didn’t give Cashmere Hammer a properly aggressive pour (my fault), so I didn’t get the full nitro effect, but that didn’t seem to detract from the aroma of this fine stout. If you love chocolate, this bold, black beer will entice you immediately, with the roasted malts eliciting coffee. The 3 Sheeps website notes that Cashmere Hammer “drinks like the best darn milkshake you’ve ever had,” and that’s an apt description. It’s almost impossibly creamy, almost like an imperial stout, but without the alcoholic kick.

The chocolaty sweetness gives way to a bit of mild bitterness, followed by a slightly dry finish. Once it settles on the palate, it’s almost equal parts dark chocolate and roasted malts. It’s really kind of brilliant, actually, thick and full of body, yet with surprising drinkability.

According to the brewery’s description, brewers spent 18 months developing this beer in their “double-secret bottling line” to develop the velvety mouthfeel. If Guinness went in this direction, it would have a similar bent. Well, if you added chocolate.

This one is available year-round in 12-ounce bottles. It sure went down smooth on a cold winter evening.

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