This beer is so alcohol, you guys! Weighing in at roughly 16% ABV, Mephistopheles’ Stout is part of the “Demons of Ales” series by Avery, and when matched with its brothers, Samael and The Beast, the three of them make for a truly wicked lineup. At the first sip, this beer comes on very strong like a drunk, divorced businessman during a midlife crisis in a trendy bar full of college girls. And much like that same businessman, once it vanishes, you’re left with an aftertaste of beer in your mouth. While the businessman is a disgusting and shameful mess who makes me want to puke after writing that last sentence, Mephistopheles’ Stout is actually pretty enjoyable, after you get to know it. Spend a little more time with this stout and you’ll realize that when you get past the stinging sweet of outright alcohol and into the beery aftertaste, there is actually a set of sub-aftertastes that lend more complexity to the brew. Flavors like fruit, chocolate, and coffee can all be found buried deep inside the ale, like the hidden booty on a foody-pirate treasure map. By “booty” I mean “riches,” but I also a mean “butt.”
When drinking this beer, I can’t help but be reminded of a quote, which for the purpose of this post, I’m going to pretend is famous. It was said by the late, great character Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Diego Garcia Marquez from Sealab 2021, and it goes like this:
If you swap the word “energy” for “ABV,” and substitute “beer” for “bear,” then you have the perfect summary of Mephistopheles’ Stout. Indeed, it does have the ABV of a beer that has the ABV of two beers…maybe even three or four.
So now I bet you think you’ve figured out the pairing, don’t you? You think I’m going to pair Mephistopheles’ Stout with Sealab 2021, or a freakishly energetic hispanic man or something, right? Well, if you do think that, not only are you wrong but you’re also mean, presumptuous, and probably too hairy. Because this beer has the ABV of two beers, that’s exactly what I’m going to parrot with: two other beers. (If you guessed I would pair Mephistopheles’ Stout with two other beers, then I apologize for calling you hairy.)
To be more precise, I recommend pairing this stout with two other fine stouts. Namely, Founders Breakfast Stout and Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. The reason I’ve chosen these two particular beers is because they are both delicious (one has more java flavors while the other has more liquorice tones, I’ll let you figure out which is which), and because together their ABVs add up to about 17%, which is as close as I could get to Mephistopheles’ ABV without caring too much about numbers. I know it’s not exact, but give me a break with math, people, I wasn’t born in a computer.
These three beers might make for a paradoxical pairing that will leave you with a headache by the end of the night, but you shouldn’t let that keep you from drinking them all at the same time. How often are you going to have someone recommend you pair a really strong beer with more other strong beers? Take advantage, you hairy blaggard! It could be quite the hellacious experience, which is exactly what Mephistopheles would have wanted.
In closing, I’ve just decided that Mephistopheles’ Stout, Founders Breakfast Stout, and Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout could comprise their own “Demon of Ales” series. After all, what could be more evil than a devil, a baby with a fiber fetish, and an old Russian peasant? The answer is a scorpion, but after that, it’s nothing.