Texana Imperial Stout with Mint

Review Date 7/15/2021     By John Staradumsky

It had been too long. I had not been to Valley River Brewery of Murphy, North Carolina since December of 2019. Mind you, that was not by choice. Covid appeared a few short months later, and who could have seen that coming? Valley River has fast become one of my favorite breweries bar none-high praise indeed from someone who has drunk from the well of as many breweries as I have. The classic styles done so well here, the one offs, the guest brews-and the food. If you go, go hungry, and pay special attention to the daily specials. You can thank me later.

Anyway, it was July 11th and I finally bellied up to the bar here again. The place was packed, a good sign, with patrons both local and visiting the casino. I fit into the latter slot, although I am never quite sure if I come to Murphy for the casino and head to the brewery as well, or vice versa. Were there no casino here, I would still make a special trip to hit Valley River, of that you may rest assured.

I came hungry. I skipped lunch this day and got to the brewery around 3PM. I ordered up a pint of the lovely Hazelnut Coffee Milk Stout, and enjoyed it with a heaping plate of fried shrimp, clam strips, and fish over a bed of home-cut fries for just $10.99. I ate about half and took the rest back to the hotel with me. As a digestif, I got a 10-ounce glass of the wonderful Olde Marsden Ale, which the bartender told me was aged since December.

A growler to go, then. I had my trusty Drink Tank with me, which also had not seen the light of day since the last time I hit Valley River over a year and a half ago. I knew what I wanted in it: Texana Imperial Stout with Mint. It was the only beer on tap here I had yet to try before, and as it had check-ins on Untappd going back to January I assumed it was a holiday version of their Texana Imperial Stout, which I had enjoyed before. Perfect, then, for my annual Christmas in July celebrations!

Valley River Texana Imperial Stout with Mint has an alcohol content of 9.7% by volume, same as the base beer. I paid $26.95 for a 64-ounce growler fill (about $6.74 a pint), and it was worth every penny. How to style it? You could certainly c all it an imperial stout and not be wrong, but the mint is so wonderfully omnipresent here that I deem it a spiced ale.

Valley River Texana Imperial Stout with Mint pours to a jet-black color with a thick creamy tan head and an nose of rich milk chocolate and mint. Taking a sip, the beer is full in body with rich milk chocolate and a permeating infusion of mint. The peppermint dominates but also accents the chocolaty stout notes wonderfully, although tends to occlude the licorice notes I usually get in the base beer. That’s OK, though: when I order a peppermint stout, I want to taste the peppermint, and I definitely do here. It combines with the chocolate to deliver delicious peppermint patty candy notes. Or being smacked in the taste buds with a chocolate covered candy cane. Take your pick. You can't lose either way.

Valley River Texana Imperial Stout with Mint is a big peppermint candy cane of a beer, as wonderful in July as it is in December. If this is back on come December of 2021, I will be all over it, like a kid in a candy store.


And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.