Friday, 01 November 2013 15:09

International Stout Day - November 2013

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I like my beer like I like my men: tall, dark and handsome.  What is the darkest beer of them all?  Well hello, stout!

Originally, stout meant “proud” or “brave”, but morphed into the connotation of “strong” after the 14th century. So, why on earth should this handsome, brave and strong beer style not have its own day of celebration?  

Happily, it does.

 

#StoutDay will be celebrated for the third year, on Friday, November 8th.  Just like wine vineyards tell the story of the people, the weather, the land and its history, beer, too, tells a story of the land, of the people and the brewers. Having a day dedicated to a beer style really has just accelerated the excitement in the craft brew circles as more learn about the intrigue regarding its history and the variety that the craft beer industry has to offer.  

The first stouts were produced in the 1730s. The Russian Imperial Stout was inspired by brewers back in the 1800's to win over the Russian Czar. "Imperial porter" came before "imperial stout" and the earliest noted use of "Imperial" to describe a beer comes from the Caledonian Mercury of February 1821, when a coffeehouse in Edinburgh was advertising "Edinburgh Ales, London Double Brown Stout and Imperial Porter, well worth the attention of Families".

Guinness had been brewing porters since about 1780 and is famous for their Dry or Irish Stout. Oatmeal stout beer is one of the more sweeter and smoother of the stouts. And for proof that we live in an evolving society, there's Oyster Stout and Chocolate Stout. The first known use of oysters as part of the brewing process of stout was in 1929 in New Zealand.

Fast forward to the modern day ‘craft beer revolution’ and you’ll find an amazing array of stouts, perfect not only for a chilly day, but for pairing with gourmet meals. Local Coachella Valley breweries and bars are celebrating the stout with the following:

Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewing will have two specialty stouts on tap.  If you’re in the Rancho Mirage area, enjoy the day with either Anderson Valley “Wild Turkey”, Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout or AleSmith Speedway Stout.   

“Wild Turkey”, Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout takes their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and ages it in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels for three months.  Anderson Valley has an exclusive arrangement with Wild Turkey, getting the barrels fresh from their “dumping room.” This ensures consistency and freshness in the barrel and eventually, the beer. Considering the use of the aging in liquor barrels, this is actually on the lower side of the alcohol scale. Alternatively, weighing in at an impressive 12% ABV, the San Diego born Speedway Stout starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation. Alongside sweet notes of molasses are some alcohol heat and dark fruit undertones.  This is a delicious beer.

CV Brewing will have “Condition Black” on tap.  Their Black IPA it's a marriage of stout and IPA styles, with the malt complexity of a stout and the hop bitterness of an IPA.  Using multiple dark roasted malts like midnight wheat, roasted barley, two dark crystal malts and chocolate malts, this Cascadian Dark style beer is a newer beer style, off shooting from the IPA and Stout styles. While not technically a stout, this style typically lacks the roastiness and body of a strong stout, but is much maltier than a typical IPA.

While Eureka! Burger may be the new kid on the block, they’re no stranger to craft beer and will be joining in on the festivities. They will have several special stouts available for the holiday. And in case you didn’t already know, stouts are a tasty accompaniment to a juicy burger.

They also are a decadent pairing with a fine cigar.  So, visit Mel at Fame Cigar and Lounge in Palm Springs for a stout and cigar.

The craft beer advocates over at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert will be offering some savory stouts as well, selection to be announced.

While visiting these fine establishments, make sure you share your stout with your friends! Are you a member of Untappd? Log in and post what beer you’re drinking and get the 2013 specialty Stout Day badge!

So, what other stouts should you keep on a look out for?  Here’s a good start:

1.    Brewery Ommegang's "Game of Thrones" Take the Black Stout was released the end of September and is available on draft and in 750 ml bottles. This stout is full of Midnight wheat, roasted barley, Northern Brewer hops and chocolate malt and is inspired by the Night's Watch, Jon Snow. Check out the Ommegang website and click “find a beer” to find where it’s available in your area.

2.    Founder’s Brewery can do no wrong. The world class Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. The ABV is 11.2%, so take your time and savor this big beer.  Smell the succulent scent of rich dark chocolate, plums, vanilla-cream, cherry, coffee and bourbon. The more you sip it, the more this perfectly aged beer will warm and bring out notes of bourbon and oak, giving this complex beer a luxurious quality.

3.    Firestone Parabola is a whopping 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout. Pouring a dark caramel brown color, this delicately smooth stout has flavors of sweet malts, charred barrel notes, coconut, vanilla, bourbon spiciness and chocolate.  The immense complexity in this stout is nothing short of artful. Watch for their bottled on dates located on the necks or bottom left corner of the label for each of Firestone’s beers.   If so inclined, buy a couple and age one in a dark place to drink next Stout Day. It will take a little edge off the bourbon and round off the flavors. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

4.    Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout: Brewed every winter, this is a multiple award winning Imperial Stout.  What makes it special? It’s the addition of wheat, specialty malts and the use of three mashes.  Beginning with cocoa, caramel malt, and dark fruit, roasted bitterness comes through and it finishes with some pleasing alcohol warmth. And the chocolate continues to send ribbons of its bouquet to the palate. This is a wonderful stout.

5.    Southern Tier Crème Brulee: An imperial stout brewed with vanilla coffee beans? Yes, please. The classic French crème brûlée has been represented in this creative Imperial Milk Stout. Here, you’ll find vanilla, custard and brown sugar in the nose.  Serve this in a tulip glass, snifter or oversized wine glass.  Want to really dive into dreamy decadence? Enjoy this with bananas foster or over vanilla ice cream. Obvious disclaimer: Steer clear if you’re diabetic.

6.    Foothills Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout: This gets the Beer Goddess award for the coolest name. The famed imperial stout has been brewed since 2007. The original Sexual Chocolate contains nine different malts and 4 different hop varietals, in addition to its “chocolate” – organic Peruvian cocoa nibs. Foothills Brewing has been awarded seven Great American Beer Fest medals Foothills since 2006; three of those went to Sexual Chocolate, along with a World Beer Cup medal in 2010. You can say this beer has a reputation. Because this is a limited release, you may not find it in time.  My suggestion is to keep an eye out for the new version that will become available for next Stout Day!

7.    2013 Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout: As part of their “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program which began in 2011, the series introduces new or “odd” versions of Stone Imperial Russian Stout in tandem with the classic version during odd-numbered years. Stone Imperial Russian Stout is one of the highest rated Stone beers and has a “world-class” score on BeerAdvocate.com. Using espresso beans from San Diego’s Ryan Bros. Coffee, Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele notes that the coffee enhances the perception of the chocolate. The taste here is substantial, yet balanced.  The 11% ABV is well hidden, but slightly noticeable. Pair with a flavored cigar like Java Robusto or Camacho Triple Maduro.

8.    Deschutes The Abyss, American Imperial Stout: It pours an obsidian black. The Abyss is aged in bourbon whiskey barrels and brewed with licorice and molasses.  This 11% beer has barrel character, but it’s never overpowering.  Light nuances of oak and vanilla and a kiss of bourbon give it great complexity. It’s definitely on par with a fine dark rum or bourbon as a mature sipper.

9.    Allagash Fluxus: The 2013 version of Fluxus has citrus notes. Brewed differently every year to commemorate their anniversary, this year's Fluxus is a porter brewed with a blend of 2-row, coffee and chocolate malts with blood orange pulp and zest. Yes, I’m including a porter in the list. Without going off into a craft beer style tangent, one can say that to say “stout” has typically meant a stronger version of porter.

"Porter may be divided into two classes, namely brown-stout and porter properly so called … Brown-stout is only a fuller-bodied kind of porter than that which serves for ordinary drinking. A great deal of this is exported to America and the West Indies."  - A General Dictionary of Commerce, Trade and Manufactures," published in 1810.

10.    Three Floyds Brewing Dark Lord Imperial Stout: This incredibly complex stout is like chocolate mousse, in a glass.  Wonderful for aging, Dark Lord boasts an alcohol volume of 15%. Sweet molasses, coffee bitterness, caramel notes and dark fruit come in waves, all while giving a nice blend of sweetness and velvety mouthfeel.   All bow before the Dark Lord. This is simply a phenomenal beer.

11.    10 Barrel/BlueJacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter:  This chocolatey, higher alcohol porter is perfect collaboration beer for the autumnal season and Stout Day. Tonya Cornett from Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company wanted a beer she would be able to cellar and enjoy for years to come. So, pick up a couple bottles, enjoy one on November 8th and tuck one away for Stout Day 2014. The sturdy yet velvety base of imperial porter holds up beautifully with the addition of the avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers.

12. Wild Turkey, Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout takes their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and ages it in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels for three months.  Anderson Valley has an exclusive arrangement with Wild Turkey, getting the barrels fresh from their “dumping room.” This ensures consistency and freshness in the barrel and eventually, the beer. Considering the use of the aging in liquor barrels, this is actually on the lower side of the alcohol scale. Alternatively, weighing in at an impressive 12% ABV, the San Diego born Speedway Stout starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation. Alongside sweet notes of molasses are some alcohol heat and dark fruit undertones.  This is a delicious beer.

So, experiment with this glorious seasonal beer style and celebrate at your local watering hole, brewery or restaurant.

It’s about continuing to celebrate the craft beer revolution, relishing in this historic beer style, sharing your photos, tasting notes and events - with the world. International Stout Day has quickly become a valued day of delicious celebration, saluting the recognizable rich and complex style and the brewers that craft it for the masses.

And how can you not appreciate a mandated holiday advising to imbibe some of strongest and most flavorful beers in the world? For more information, visit www.StoutDay.com.


Cheers!

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