By now, pretty much every brewery in town has at least one seasonal beer that its fans wait to get their hands on every year. Lost Forty has Nighty Night, Rebel Kettle has Summer Jam, Bubba Brews has Southern Rok, and so on. For Flyway Brewing, that limited edition brew is becoming Lord God Imperial Chocolate Stout, an elegant monster of a stout ale that unloads waves of powerful chocolate and roasted malt flavors with each sip. Flyway fans don’t have to wait long for 2018’s version; the taproom is releasing the brew on Wednesday, with at least one special guest item on the menu.
First, a quick word about the beer’s name. Flyway’s brews are all named after wildlife elements from the Delta region of Arkansas, mostly after different kinds of birds. “Lord God bird” is another name for the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird native the land around Brinkley. The woodpecker is at least critically endangered, if not extinct. Several sightings in 2004 and 2005 led to a surge of bird watchers visiting east Arkansas, but none found definitive proof the bird still existed. It was that scarcity that Flyway leaned upon when naming this stout.
“It’s an elusive beer, it’s hard to find anywhere except the tasting room,” said co-owner Jess McMullen. “There will be a few kegs scattered throughout the market, but it’s very limited. It’s fun to have a beer like that that everyone wants to get their hands on.
“We wanted Lord God, as the elusive Lord God bird, that’s the part of it we wish more people knew about, how it takes its name, because it is a big, beautiful bird that is hard to imagine. That’s how we feel about this beer. Lord God, that’s a lot of chocolate!”
He’s right. One sip of Lord God is all it takes to unlock an avalanche of dark chocolate notes on your tongue. And I do mean dark chocolate; while 2018’s version dials down the hops from previous years, that only serves to let the bitterness of the chocolate shine forward even more. Think about the flavor you’d associate with an 85 percent dark chocolate, and you’re getting close.
“It is on a copious amount of Izard Chocolate nibs, but it’s also brewed with some of the finest Weyermann and Crisp malts that are available,” said McMullen. “So when we brew this beer, we go all out.”
For this year’s release, Flyway has enlisted Mylo Coffee Co. to create a chocolate stout cake using Lord God as a base. Mylo is delivering three cakes for Wednesday’s release, which will be sold by the slice at the taproom until they’re gone. A slice of the cake to go along with a serving of the 10.4 percent ABV stout should be plenty for your Valentine’s Day celebration.
“Imperial stout is a pretty traditional category in today’s beer world. This allows us to bring something in that’s, what we consider to be an extreme beer. We have spent a lot of time working on our high-ABV menu, and it kind of heads that up.”
Lord God Imperial Chocolate Stout is available starting tomorrow at the taproom. There are a few kegs that will be distributed around town, so make sure to look for those as well. This is pretty much the last of the winter brews for Flyway. After this, the brew team will turn its attention to spring beers, including the cake series classic Red Velvet imperial ale, Audu-Blonde blonde ale and potentially and new spring pale ale.