Today we have another ale from the fine midwest folk of Two Brothers Brewing bringing us a solid Imperial Stout appropriately named Northwind. Though they hail from Warrenville, Illinois and are nearby neighbors of us Minnesotans I rarely see their brew at the store so I have been pleased to see it a number of places in the past few months as I have yet to consume anything from them I have not enjoyed. This ale pours a nice deep black color that is not penetrated by light, producing just a finger of lovely chocolate colored head that is very well retained for many minutes. Gentle swirling immediately produces more of this silky head giving the glass a slight lacing that slowly trickles down. Aroma is quite nice, creamy sweet aromas mesh wonderfully with dark but gentle roasted malt scents with only a little alcohol on the nose. When first sipping this beer the roasted malt flavors are most noticeable and transition into a smooth slightly more creamy taste. The body is medium but reasonably light for a stout, the mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy making this a very drinkable brew if you like dark malts. Though this ale is absolutely an Imperial Stout with its solid 8.5% ABV, you may easily be tricked because of how well the malt profile covers the alcohol flavors. The more your drink of this ale the more you notice the subtler flavors such as a slight citrus flavor that tones down the malt flavors as well as some pitted fruit hints. That my friends is what I enjoy the most about this ale, it is incredibly simple on the surface and therefore very approachable and easy to enjoy for anyone who is interested in a stout, but then subtly complex in many ways you wouldn’t expect, or perhaps even notice if you aren’t looking for it. The rest of you from these Northerly lands will appreciate the namesake of this ale as it is perfect for our current weather, though the ride today was quite reasonable it would certainly have kept me warmer. Fans of Stouts or Imperial Ales in general will enjoy this simple yet flavorful ale. Give it a shot and ride your bike.