Mar 12, 2014

Heritage Brewing Sovereign Stout

They won’t tell me how they do it (not even a hint), but Heritage Brewing ensures me that Sovereign Stout, a 4% ABV dry coffee stout, actually contains zero coffee — no beans, not even a couple of grounds.

The guys first told me this when I visited a few days prior to their New Year’s Eve launch over a sample of the brew. They told me again when I stopped by a couple of weeks later and made this roasty treat of a beer my first official purchase from the Manassas, VA brewery.

Regardless of what’s in (or not in) Sovereign Stout, this sessionable brew packs a serious roast and drying finish. It may not be a stout for everyone as noted by the brewers, but it does bring an earthy quality to the palate that I particularly enjoyed. Having it served on nitro helps fill the beer out much more than when I first sampled it from the tank, but, for my personal preferences, I’d still like to get a little more fullness from it. Aside from that, Sovereign Stout, was definitely the right move as my first purchase from Heritage Brewing.


The beer pours a murky brown in color with a small cap of creamy, tan foam.


A solid waft of dark coffee, earth, roast and a light char rise from the surface.


For a brew that contains no coffee, it’s got a strong coffee character. The roast malts dominate the flavor nicely with hints of chocolate, tobacco, earth and a distant char. There’s an appropriate amount of coffee astringency, brought on by a light hop bitterness before fading smoothly into the lasting and very drying finish. As stated earlier, I’d like it to be a little bit fuller on the palate, but it still slides smoothly over the tongue.


Not only do I love the earthy, roasty nature of Sovereign Stout, but the lower alcohol content makes it a beer that I was able to enjoy at the bar while chatting up the Heritage guys as the brewery slowly filled with patrons. It’s a drying beer that may not be for everyone, but that hasn’t stopped me from ordering it the past few times I’ve visited.

Rating: 3.75/5

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