November 8, 2012 marks the second annual International Stout Day
So you might be thinking that these these holidays to celebrate a particular beer style is getting a little out of hand. We all have heard about IPA Day and Sour Beer Day, and yes, there are weeks and months dedicated to cities, states, and beer styles. But hey, whatever gets the masses to explore and embrace and educate when it comes to craft beer is a win for our collective movement.
Though Fort George Brewery of Astoria, Oregon has been running Stout Month during February for a few years now, with the arrival of chillier weather and shorter daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere, we might as well give it up for the 2nd Annual International Stout Day. I mean who doesn’t like a hearty, roasty, robust dark ale to ring in the season.
On Thursday November 8, 2012, folks around the globe will toast Stout Day by enjoying anything from a dry stout to an imperial stout, a milk stout to a chocolate stout, an oatmeal stout to an oyster stout, maybe even a Baltic porter.
Here’s a look at 25 stouts we recommend in honor of Stout Day:
10 Barrel American Stout – Here’s a fantastic example of a stout that lives up to its name. Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing looked to Boise brewmaster Shawn Kelso for this All-American brew that he helped to develop during his tenure at Barley Brown’s Brewpub in Baker City, OR. The recipe has won several awards, most notably, this the latest construal, which took home a silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.
Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout – From Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon comes this magnificently well-rounded oatmeal stout that has been pleasing palates since its first release in 2007. Featuring a simple yet eloquent arrangement of malts including 2-Row Pale, Chocolate, Crystal, Roasted Barley, and Oats, and hopped with Nuggets, Oatis combines creaminess with a balancing bitter bite. Special renditions of this can sometimes be found on tap that include oak-aged and vanilla Oatis.
Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout – Speaking of Eugene, Oregon, there’s something about this town when it comes to great stouts. Perhaps its the soft McKenzie River Watershed, access to great regionally grown hops, or the inspirational atmosphere of overcast, wet wintry weather this time of year. Whatever it is, Oakshire Brewing‘s award winning Overcast Stout incorporates locally brewed coffee with oats in this year round, easy drinking yet sturdy 5.8% ABV treat.
Breakside Dry Stout – What can we say? We love Breakside Brewery‘s Ben Edmunds and his fabulous beers. Name a style, he’s brewed it. He’s even made up a few styles of his own. But when it comes to a light, dry Irish-style stout, Edmunds exhibits his understanding of this sessionable (4.8% ABV) and easy-drinking delight that won a silver medal at the 2011 GABF and a bronze at the 2012 World Beer Cup. According to the brewer this beer was brewed in the tradition of Guinness. “Dark in flavor but light in alcohol, this is a roasty and chocolaty beer that won’t make you feel stuffed.”
Bison Organic Chocolate Stout – An interesting spin on the lower alcohol dry stout is Bison Brewing‘s Organic Chocolate Stout. 100% certified organic, right down to the hops, this medium-bodied ale is characterized by rich cocoa and roasted malt aromas, charismatic flavors of dark chocolate and espresso, a creamy mouth feel and smooth, dry finish. This flagship ale weighs in at a very approachable 5% ABV.
Highwater Campfire Stout – Brewed in the East Bay, Highwater Brewing‘s Campfire Stout gets its name not from using smoked malts, but by the nostalgic ingredients it employs. Notes of chocolate and graham cracker topped with a hint of marshmallow, as they say, “will leave you wanting s’more. Like any campfire experience, this beer is best shared with a warm circle of family and friends.” Rich, creamy, and like a dessert in a glass, Campfire is a magnificent example of what a prototypical stout can be.
Fremont Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout – Here is one big and bold yet well balanced imperial stout from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing. “Roasty, chocolate tones swirled with oatmeal smoothness and dark as the night. The Dark Star crashes, pouring its light into ashes, so follow as the Lady of Velvet in the nights of goodbye. This one is too smooth…and at 8.0% ABV, dangerous.” Brewed with 2-Row, Roast Barley, Crystal-60, Chocolate, & Carafa-2 malts with Flaked Oats and Magnum, Willamette and Cascade hops.
Hopworks Survival Seven Grain Stout – Here’s a complex and simply magnificent stout from Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks Urban Brewery. Made using all organic malts, Survival makes use of Barley, Wheat, Oats, Amaranth, Quinoa, Spelt and Kamut. Sounds like a meal in a glass, right? Well, for a little extra boost, this incredibly flavorful ale is finished with 20 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Organic Holler Mountain coffee.
Silver Moon Dark Side Stout – From Bend, Oregon’s Silver Moon Brewing, this 2011 GABF gold medal winning foreign-style stout is a real treat. Pours a glossy, pitchy dark black body with a bubbly tan head revealing some distinct ashy, charred toasted grains and appropriate lingering malt sweetness. Notes of anise, and mild coffee are finished by a crisp and zesty hops presence.
Fort George Cavatica Stout – Astoria, Oregon’s Fort George Brewery knows a thing or two about stouts. Last year during the month of February, the brewhouse launched nearly ten different stouts including their year-round imperial known as Cavatica. Available on draught and in 16-ounce can, Cavatica, as the brewery notes “is no dry Irish anything.” The name honors this brewer’s affinity with arachnia. This 8.8% ABV stout will bite you and you might just love it.
Columbia River Brewing Paddler’s Porter – This magnificent winter release from Portland’s Columbia River Brewing is a big 8.4% ABV chewy, chocolaty, inky lager. A huge hit at its 2010 Holiday Ale Fest premiere, the early success of Paddler’s was no fluke. Brewmaster Rick Burkhardt is a wizard with stouts. His Drunken Elf Stout won a silver at the 2012 World Beer Cup and his Stumbler Stout won a silver at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival
Rogue Shakespeare Stout Stout – “For a quart of ale is a dish for a king” – William Shakespeare ‘A Winter’s Tale.’ Here’s an Oregon original from Rogue Ales. Shakespeare stout is a champion of oatmeal stouts with an unparalleled earthy flavor and distinctly mellow, chocolate finish. Great Western 2-Row, Crystal 135/165, Chocolate Malts; Perle & Cascade Hops; Rolled Oats, Roasted Barley, Free Range Coastal Water and Pacman Yeast all combine to formulate the perfect rich dark pour. Not terribly hard to find beyond the West Coast, so get it if you can.
Deschutes The Abyss – This world renowned stout from Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery began as a super limited release six years ago in wax-dipped 22-ounce bottles and grew to become one of the most sought after beers of all time. Deep and viscous as the name suggests, this 11% monster is perfect to drink out the gate, or with several years of aging under its belt. Notes of molasses, chocolate, and anise are all evident with this mysterious and multifarious offering. If you consider yourself a craft beer lover and haven’t experienced The Abyss, it’s time to crawl out from under the rock you’ve been beneath and get after some.
Pelican Tsunami Stout – Pelican Brewery of Pacific City on Oregon’s Coast is not only one of the most beautifully positioned brewpubs on earth, it is also the purveyors of some of the world’s best ales. Pelican’s Tsunami Stout has won many awards and one sip will clue you in to why. “Magnum and Willamette hops combine with unmalted barley and roasted malts to give this brew a full body and a dense creamy head. All elements combine in a rich espresso-like finish.”
Laurelwood Moose and Squirrel– Laurelwood Brewing‘s Organic Moose & Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout is a strong and chewy stout created by blending several dark and rich malts. “This approach creates the impression of layers of fruitiness, chocolate and coffee. This type of beer was originally made for the Czars of Russia by British brewers.” At 8.8% ABV, 60 IBU, this limited seasonal release deserves the highest of accolades for its awesomeness.
The Bruery Black Tuesday – Holy cow! This brewery exclusive (from The Bruery in Orange County, CA) was a real treat to try. The infamous Black Tuesday is an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels for over a year. Rich caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood, anise are just a few of the many flavors of this rich, decadent imperial stout. You may have heard about this beer in beer geek forums. RateBeer.com ranked this the #22 best beer of 2010, and BeerAdvocate ranked it at #16 on the planet. ABV: 19.5%, IBU: 40, SRM: 100+
GoodLife Pass Stout – “This rich, dark as night, Northwest Stout is brewed to be a dark beer lover’s dream brewed with lots of roasted malts and oats, lending a full body and robust flavor. The dark roasted malts lure the nose to imagine mid-night in fields of grain, and the full head with smooth balance leaves a subtle coffee and chocolate aftertaste.” GoodLife Brewing of Bend, OR has been killing it since they opened a little over a year ago. Pass Stout is a bold 7.7% ABV American Stout you should check out!
Pike XXXXX Extra Stout – A big black English-style stout from Seattle’s Pike Brewing that you must taste is their XXXXX Extra Stout. Brewed with Pale, Crystal, Roasted malts and Chinook, Willamette, Goldings hops, this 65 IBU, 7% ABV ale holds a full-bodied velvety malt texture; hints of chocolate licorice and espresso. This early ale style known for its restorative, nutritional, and health-giving benefits might just be what the doctor ordered. Find it year round where Pike brews are available.
Alesmith Speedway Stout – When you talk about coffee stouts, there’s one particular stout that is without rival – Alesmith Brewing‘s Speedway Stout. This San Diego stout is one huge brew. 12% ABV, jet black with a deep tan-brown head and a powerful kick of coffee. If you ever get a chance to try the bourbon barrel-aged version of Speedway, don’t pass it up. It has been rated #1 in the world by the users at RateBeer.com.
Green Flash Double Stout – “Golden naked oats mashed with dark crystal and robust roasted malts create a luscious black brew with a satin smooth finish. Layering UK Target hops in the boil adds a pleasant, earthy complexity while higher fermentation temperatures enhance the overall flavor with fruity esters. An old-world style, done the Green Flash way. Big, bold, flavorful and complex – Double Stout.” Another killer San Diego stout that you must try!
Elysian Omen Raspberry Belgian-Style Stout – This is one spectacularly unique and complex brew from Seattle’s Elysian Brewing. Omen is the tenth release in the brewery’s Twelve Beers of the Apocalypse series. Omen pours a deep black hue with a dense, creamy tan head and leaves behind a deep frothy lace. Sweet luscious raspberries linger above the bold roasty and chocolaty nose but is subtly meshed within the mild esters of the Belgian yeast and chewy malt spine. Stout lovers should also get a hold of Elysian’s regularly available Dragonstooth Stout.
Golden Valley Brewing Black Panther Imperial Stout -According to Mark Vickery, brewmaster at Golden Valley Brewing in McMinnville, Oregon, this stout is one of the first of its kind. Black Panther uses Pinot Noir barrels from neighboring Panther Creek Cellars to create this unique marriage of wine country and craft beer chic. Available in uber limited bottles and draught, if you happen to see this vinous yet roasty treat, don’t hesitate to grab some.
Southern Oregon Brewing Black Heart Imperial Stout – A relatively new addition to Medford, Oregon’s Southern Oregon Brewing (SOB)’s repertoire is their extremely rewarding Black Heart Imperial Stout which debuted this past year. This 8.5% ABV imperial drinks surprisingly easy from its nose of rich malts, oats, coffee, dark chocolate, and fig through to its finish of coffee, dry cocoa, and toasted grains. Look for it in 22-ounce bottles and on tap as the mercury continues to drop.
Port Santa’s Little Helper – Originally brewed at the Pizza Port in Solana Beach in November of 1997, Port Brewing‘s Santa’s Little Helper is one hell of a winter time imperial stout. Thicker than motor oil and with enough malts and hops to crush any chill, this early winter release from San Diego drops down the chimney with 10.5% ABV. Brewed with Two Row, Wheat, Domestic and English Crystal, Roasted, Black and Chocolate Malts and spiced with Phoenix, Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops, this nice brew might turn you naughty if you don’t share some.
Midnight Sun Berserker Imperial Stout – You have to have something big and bold to withstand a brutal Alaskan winter. Midnight Sun Brewing of Anchorage doesn’t disappoint with their beastly Berserker Imperial Stout. “Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight.” This year’s version of Berserker Imperial Stout was aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels. The entire batch was brought back together before being packaged in kegs and 22-oz bottles. “My love for you is like a truck, Berserker” -Love Among Freaks.
So there’s a some great stouts we recommend you check out. Obviously we didn’t cover every amazing stout worth trying, but these West Coast offerings are a great jumping off point. Keep up with many of the happenings of International Stout Day by following the Twitter hashtag #StoutDay. For more on stouts including recipes and pairing with the beer style, visit StoutDay.com