The annual release of Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity is circled on the calendars of many a hardcore beer geek in this province. While big winter seasonal releases are all the rage these days, back in 2011 when Singularity debuted, it was one of only a few examples in B.C.—Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator and Central City’s Thor’s Hammer chief among them.
This year marks the 10th edition of Singularity, and this barrel-aged beast of a beer is entering its second decade somewhat tamed.
At 10.0% ABV (see what they did there), this is the lowest ABV Singularity yet—a far cry from the 14.6% we saw in 2014. But it’s also the most drinkable. Like most Russian imperial stouts, Singularity has always benefited from an extended stay in your cellar—some previous vintages absolutely required it. Not so with the 2020. This year’s model is ready to roll. And so it should be! I want a beer I can drink and enjoy NOW, and not have to wait two to three years only to find out my linen closet beer cellar isn’t actually temperature controlled and that 2015 I was saving for absolutely nothing in particular is a sticky, gushing mess.
Fresh out of the wax-dipped bottle, Singularity 2020 pours jet black and syrupy, with a strong mocha nose. It’s smooth, bursting with coffee, caramel and chocolate, with lovely notes of roasted marshmallow, vanilla and bourbon, as well. There’s enough hop and roast bitterness and oaky tannic astringency to clean up the finish and curtail any lingering sweetness, and very little alcoholic heat compared to previous years. And it will only get smoother with time.
Singularity at 10 is perhaps its most refined iteration yet. Grab two bottles, one for now and one for a few years down the road. Or don’t. It’s a free country and I’m not the boss of you.
Singularity (2020) by Driftwood Brewery
Russian imperial stout • 10.0% ABV • 750 mL bottles
Appearance: Jet black with a billowing, persistent light brown head.
Aroma: Coffee, chocolate, molasses, roasted malt, vanilla.
Flavour: Coffee, caramel, toffee, cocoa, roasted marshmallows, vanilla, oak, bourbon, roasted malt, dried fruit, slightly tannic, moderate hop bitterness, mild alcoholic heat.
Body/finish: Full bodied, semi-dry finish with some astringency and hop bitterness.
Pairs with: Grilled flank steak, chocolate cookies, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a nap.