As many of you, I’m sure, I start each morning with a bubbling, comforting, hot cup of coffee. I love the smell of the beans as I grind them and the sputtering sound of the machine as it sprays hot water through the earth-colored grounds and down into the pot. So, I figured, if I enjoyed coffee as an introduction to my day, I suppose I’d like it just as much as the closing chapter.

That’s where JavaHead comes in. Pouring an incredibly smooth black, it looks like an eight ball in my glass, wearing a thin but steady cap of tan, broken only by thicker dollops of foam here and there. It mimics my morning cuppa well, I suppose. When I break the seal and uncap this rich brew, the scent is sweet and oily, brown sugar and soy more than the coffee I was so expecting. Its unbelievably smooth, and rightfully so, its origins in an oatmeal stout recipe adjusted with locally roasted espresso and Kenyan beans. Its not thick, but substantial, medium bodied at least. There is definitely a roasty malty backbone, with only slight hints of hops, balancing it enough to be drinkable and even keeled. Its fairly straight forward taste is rich and strong, with little variance from the bitter roast coffee, dominating the whole.

The stout world is one of stiff competition and while I enjoyed JavaHead, I know a few of the real winners out there. In a field of so many ‘goods’ this one doesn’t quite rise up to be great.