After picking up a 6 six of this I went over to a friend's house who attended college in Mount Pleasant at CMU. They still go out there to visit several times a year and seemed surprise to learn that the city had it's own brew pub let alone one that was bottling it's beer and selling it around the rest of Michigan. We checked around on the web for a few before cracking the bottles open. We became a little hesitant because some of the opinions of the beer they weren't the most glowing. The more we looked around though we noticed that the more positive reviews were of more recent vintage so maybe they figured out whatever the problems were and rectified them.
Steam Engine Stout is very, very dark in color. Almost black actually if it wasn't for the slight bit of light that peeks around the edges giving the look a bit of a brown luminescent glow. A inch head melts away pretty quickly and leaves minimal lacing behind.
Chocolate and smoke can be detected in the scent but neither of them really jump out. It takes a couple of deep whiff's to detect them but while doing so there's also something akin to blackberries that comes out as well. There is a bit more going on in the flavor department though. Roasted malt is on the front end followed by dark chocolate and ends with a slight hoppiness.
The brew itself is a bit thinner than some of the other stouts I've been leaning towards in stouts but it's not wimpy and fizzy like a Guinness or anything which made go down pretty easy and quite sessionable.
If you're looking for a big and burly stout that'll grow hair on you knuckles thicker than a national forest this may not be one to reach for (which is maybe where some of the poo-poo'd reviews we read came from) but if you're looking for a solid winter stout that you can drink a few of at a time in these cold winter month this might just be one that hit's the spot.