I thought the Cardamom Coffee Stout would be a polarizing beer, but the "public" response has been overwhelmingly positive. The only real debate has been on the intensity of the coffee. I initially thought it was too much, but my mind is changing. Being a dry session beer that goes down very easily, it might be uninteresting without its assertive espresso sharpness. However I decide to brew the beer, I'm thinking about making it the pub's regular dark beer instead of a Chocolate Porter. I'm going to give the Porter a fair trial by brewing it next week, though.
In other pilot batch news, the Belgian Pumpkin Ale I bottled in the waning hours of 2008 has matured into a very nice beer. At bottling time, it tasted like a banana shat in my fermenter. Two weeks later, the dominant flavor was solvent. I was ready to ban Wyeast 3522 from my brewery, but cellaring the beer in my chilly basement for a couple more weeks erased the unpleasantness. I'm glad I gave the batch some time to itself.
Our final story is that I bottled my second batch of House Ale today. The Wisconsin Cascades provided a lot more citrus character than I expected, which is a good thing. The beer is looking, smelling and tasting like a winner.