Beer Pick: Piano Keys Imperial Stout is back and more gangsta than ever

Ale Sharpton conceived Piano Keys Imperial Stout with New Belgium Brewing. / Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing and Ale Sharpton
Ale Sharpton conceived Piano Keys Imperial Stout with New Belgium Brewing. / Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing and Ale Sharpton

Credit: Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing and Ale Sharpton

Credit: Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing and Ale Sharpton

Atlanta beer maven Dennis Malcolm Byron, aka Ale Sharpton, conceived and now co-owns Piano Keys Imperial Stout with New Belgium Brewing. The second, more refined iteration is currently available from New Belgium and in stores around Atlanta.

More good news: For every case of Piano Keys sold, $2 will benefit BrewGether, a collaborative giving project established by Byron. New Belgium will also donate $1 per beer sold through its tasting rooms to local nonprofit organizations in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina.

And with all that good stuff in mind, Piano Keys is this week’s Beer Pick.

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Beer Pick

Piano Keys Imperial Stout`1

New Belgium Brewing

Available in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans for a limited time

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Brewed with a specialty malt bill of Marris Otter, Munich, roasted barley, chocolate malt, caramel malt, and flaked oats, plus ale yeast, and Nugget hops, Piano Keys is obviously malt-forward by design. It pours deep black with a tight tan head, and as my friend, Ale Sharpton might say, it’s gangsta in the glass.

The addition of XOCOLATL cocoa nibs from Atlanta and Ugandan vanilla beans add another layer of complexity to the mix, revealing aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and a touch of licorice. At 10% alcohol, it’s a big beer. But the mouthfeel is silky smooth, and the residual sweetness makes it almost too easy to drink.

Pair with

Drink Piano Keys on its own after dinner, or for dessert with dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookies and/or vanilla ice cream.

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