Should You Give A Hoot About Four Corners' La Lechuza?

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Four Corners Brewing Company's La Lechuza S'more Stout.

Fast Facts on Four Corners Brewing Company's La Lechuza S'more Stout.
Style: American Stout.
ABV: 7.6 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 50.
Color: Almost black.
Availability: Limited release.

Overview.
It's fall in Texas. Or is it winter? I really can't tell! For the record: Winter officially begins this week, and Four Corners Brewing Company is giving us one of those beers that's meant to be enjoyable near a crackling campfire or near a purring fireplace. La Lechuza S'more Sout is one of Four Corners Special Brews of 2015 — so says the can — and it follows a growing line of solid beers from the brewery. The can design is cool like the others, and it features an owl (lechuza means owl in Spanish, just so we're clear). So, is the owl just a fun pick for the can design, or is there some story or symbolism behind the owl? Some people in Mexico consider the owl a sign of death. Surely that's not what Four Corners is going for, right? Maybe it's goes with the s'more-fall-campfire thing. Hope so!

Background on American Stout.
American Stout is a style known to be rather aggressive on the bitterness, both from roasty malts and from medium-to-aggressive hop profiles. Some stouts add lactose to round out residual, unfermented sweetness. The ABV of American Stout normally ranges from 5 to 7 percent. In all, this is a dark, medium-bodied, fun-to-drink beer. Unlike some of the other stout styles, American Stouts dial it up a bit on the bitterness.

Appearance.
La Lechuza pours super dark, near-black color. A tan head provides a tease of the imminent roast malts ahead. There's medium lacing to this beer, and the faintest layer of head sticks around on the surface of the beer all the way through my first drink.

Aroma.
There's a hint of chocolate, along with a tiny tinge of spice — a cinnamon sort of vibe. Behind these two dominant aromas lives a huge roasty malt layer, typical of many an American Stout. This beer has a sweet aroma, no doubt. But does it taste as sweet as it smells, or is the sweetness mostly on the nose?

Flavor.
Yes, this is a sweet stout, but it's not cloyingly sweet — it finishes rather dry, actually. Have my tasters played a trick on me? I might be totally off, based on the original gravity and ABV of this beer. Based on those numbers and some beer math, a medium to high attenuating yeast would finish a bit high on the sugars. So, um, what gives?

Mouthfeel.
La Lechuza coats my tongue with a sweetness that sticks around just for a moment. The carbonation is spot-on for the style, and it provides an adequate level of tongue bite that amplifies the bitterness and roast flavor. After a few sips, my lips are semi-sticky, and maybe more sticky than I'm used to for a 7.6 percent ABV beer. But I get it; this is a sweet stout after all.

Overall Impression.
I like this beer. It's good. It's not an everyday sort of drinking beer — I'd consider this more of a special occasion sort of beer. And I'm not sure that I would want to drink more than one or two of them. I don't mean to sound fussy or elitist. It's just… well, it's a spiced beer thing. After one beer, the spice sort of takes over and I'm wondering what else is next. I'll be back to enjoy another La Lechuza at some point, I'm sure. But I need to go back to a non-spiced beer first. So, y'know, maybe tomorrow.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Four Corners La Lechuza S'more Stout a 6.5.

What's happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, December 26. Four-Year Anniversary at Peticolas Brewing Co.
• Thursday, December 31. Grand Opening at Division Brewing Co.
• Saturday, January 9. Dallas Brew Bus January Tour.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community's Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community's Legion: 10.
Deep Ellum's Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood's Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas' Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas' Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
Lakewood's Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas' Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum's Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood's Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company's 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters' Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey's SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers' Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters' Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead's Gritz: 8.
Community's Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek's Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House's Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver's Bock: 8.
903 Brewers' Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House's Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek's Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood's Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine's Unicorn's Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum's Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners' El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood's Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Martin House's Turtle Power: 7.
Collective's Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon's Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead's Red Ale: 7.
Community's Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House's Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel's Purple Unicorn: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company's Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company's Cellarman's Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers' Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver's High Brass: 7.
Community's Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands' Chump Change: 7.
Martin House's River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery's Sir William's Brown Ale: 7.
Community's Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity's Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project's Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Revolver's Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers' Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas' Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery's Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Tupps' Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole's Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole's Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works' WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
903 Brewers' The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets' Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O' Texas: 4.
Audacity's Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company's IPA: 4.
Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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