Beer Review: Southern Star Buried Hatchet Variety Pack
Buried Hatchet is a local classic and one of those beers that’s achieved “old stand-by” status in my fridge. Southern Star has served it on nitro, brewed a version with Dosey Doe coffee, and has done various casks in the past, but it’s cool to see them go all-in for this variety pack by providing four new versions of a beloved beer. It would be nice to see more unique variety packs like this from local breweries. The packaging is cool, consisting of eight twelve ounce cans, two apiece of four beer varieties, which are presented in a large tin shaped like a huge can of Buried Hatchet. The tin can is sturdier than most I’ve seen in similar holiday packaging and has an overall sleek, glossy look. The container is nice, but most importantly, how about the beer?
I couldn’t find specifics of the added ingredients for this or the other three brews in this pack, but all four cans proclaim “with natural flavor added”. Irish Cream opens up with a rich and inviting cocoa aroma. The flavor follows the aroma with the rich, chocolate being joined by coffee. There’s a nice dose of cream in the mix as well, carrying through to a lingering chocolate finish. This is quite tasty, but the overall impression is “creamy Buried Hatchet,” versus something wild and different. Irish Cream is easily the most similar to the base beer of the four, but when the base beer is so solid, that’s not a bad thing.
Red Velvet Cake
This is the most impressive looking of the bunch due to a thick, tan head. Red Velvet is also heavy with rich chocolate aroma, but I do get some “cake” in the mix as well. The flavor, again, follows the aroma, the chocolate is not as rich as expected but lingers for a long finish. This is also creamier than standard Hatchet, and bit more interesting than Irish Cream due to the “cake” element. I really enjoyed this one as you definitely taste “chocolate cake”, but like Irish Cream, I feel the overall flavor doesn’t stray too far from the base beer.
S’Mores has a strong, sweet marshmallow aroma that instantly perked up my level of interest. Again, you get rich chocolate and roasty malt, but there’s a substantial sweet marshmallow and a bit of graham cracker flavor here that really work. The level of complexity is nice with roast, coffee, and chocolate playing well with the “natural flavor”. Southern Star nailed the s‘mores concept and created a brew in which the added elements are not so dominant to throw everything overboard. The creamy body also fits the concept nicely. This was my second favorite and the most interesting of the pack.
This is my favorite from the variety pack. Chocolate Orange is one of the better looking of the bunch thanks to a sticky, tan head. The aroma is outstanding with plenty of orange with an edge of chocolate. It’s so full-on and inviting and reminds me of the orange chocolates you tend to get around Christmas (come to think of it, this is the second beer I‘ve had like this in the last few weeks). There’s more chocolate in the flavor than the aroma, but there’s still plenty of orange. The roasty edges and light, dry bitterness paired with a rich and somewhat velvety body work wonders. I think they nailed the concept here, it comes across as an excellent beer representation of a piece of orange flavored chocolate without being too heavy with rich malts.
I‘ve always been a fan of Buried Hatchet and it‘s cool to see a pack like this with four different varieties of a beloved beer. I love the base beer, so I enjoyed all of these; however, I wish they had pushed the limits a bit more with a couple of their choices. Red Velvet and Irish Cream are both very enjoyable but don’t stray too far from the base beer. It would have been cool to see something more interesting instead. On the other hand, Chocolate Orange and S’Mores are exactly the type of brew I like to see in a pack with this. Overall, this is a cool set to buy someone for the holidays and anyone who already enjoys Buried Hatchet should be game for this pack. I also think it would be really cool for somebody will do some sort of dessert or other food pairing with these brews. Hit me up at Todd@HoustonBeerScene if you have any cool pairing ideas.