No person has ever walked into a Monday feeling one hundred percent. I’m sure even Warren Buffet, in between making millions of dollars per minute for just breathing, has the same attitude about Mondays as the rest of us. This Monday, in particular, was kind of the worst; my lingering Mardi Gras hangover was not doing me any favors and the thought of drinking a thick stout was not a promising solution. But alas, a woman’s work is never done. I used my fresh speeding ticket as a makeshift koozie and popped open a 4Hands Zellige Moroccan Coffee Stout with the hopes that at least free alcohol could brighten up a fairly below average start to the week.
At first glance, the description listed on the front of the can confused me. “Brewed with coffee, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg,” I read, nodding along with each ingredient. “Cardamom, black pepper, and sea salt.” I like all of these things individually, but the thought of black pepper and cinnamon together makes me uncomfortable. “Best paired with Grilled Beef.” I did not have any grilled beef, so I paired this beer with some peanut butter tagalong Girl Scout cookies. I cracked open the can. The smell was even more confusing than the description. I was picking up chocolate and bread, mainly. Please remember I neither enjoy beer nor know anything about it. I have not decided if this series of beer tasting articles by someone who openly dislikes the beverage is fun or tormenting.
It took me some time to gain the courage to actually try this drink after opening it. I will admit it, the flavor profile scared me, and rightfully so. My lips puckered into the shape of a baby who has just tried a lemon for the first time almost immediately upon their connection with the tallboy can (see reference below). I can see where this drink would be appealing. It’s sweet, the ‘coffee’ flavor is there, and it’s heavy in a way that makes it seem expensive (I wouldn’t know, my boss handed it to me on my way out of our last meeting). I drink a lot of coffee, and I drink a lot of alcohol, but for now, I'm not a huge fan of mixing the two together unless we're talking about adding a splash of whisky to a cup with extra cream. After tasting, I imagine this pairing well with beef the same way that a chocolate shake pairs well with french fries.
Don’t get me wrong, I like 4Hands, and some other beers they offer (sweeter and lighter) I can definitely handle and even somewhat enjoy. But for some reason, this beer reminds me of the chocolate wine I chugged in a friend’s garage the summer before my senior year of high school, and I’ve been unable to fully enjoy chocolate flavored beverages ever since. A troubled past with sweet drinks mixed with a gross ignorance of beer knowledge or fondness led me to prepare for the worst. But Zellige….I wanted us to be different!
On my quest to finding one age appropriate ‘laid back’ beverage that I can actually stomach, Zellige takes a seat very far in the back, but maybe this could be your favorite drink of the year: pick one up at the Gaslight bar and let me know how our opinions compare.
Rebecca Davis is the current media intern for Gaslight. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2017 with a degree in journalism. Rebecca is loves dive bars, singing 'Linger' by The Cranberries at karaoke, and pineapple on her pizza. Her dislikes include the Trader Joe's parking lot, accidentally falling asleep with socks on, and summing up her personality in third person self-written author bios.