As I mentioned before, yesterday was International Stout Day, the day we celebrated my favorite style of beer! For those unfamiliar with the different styles of beer, a stout is a dark beer where the malt and hops have been roasted, giving it a strong flavor. That is, in fact, why it’s called a stout (meaning “strong”). In addition, the alcohol content is usually around 7-8%, pretty strong for a beer. The Stout Day website has a pretty good synopsis of the history.
The most commonly known stout is Guinness, but I wanted to stick to some American Microbrews. I chose two actually. First was Pretty Things Babayaga, their “sylvan stout”. A brewery from my own great state of MA, Pretty Things like to put their own twist on type names. “Babayaga” is actually an export stout, or a stout brewed in bigger batches so that it travels better. I first came across Pretty Things last year, trying their Saint Botolph’s Town brown ale and really enjoyed their table at the BeerAdvocate Beerfest this past spring (though sadly was not fast enough to get tickets to this February’s Extreme Beer Fest, which sold out in 2 hours).
“Babayaga” had good mouthfeel, great herby smokiness, a touch of hops, and a surprisingly bright note to the finish I don’t associate with stouts but really enjoyed. I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to refer to a stout as “refreshing”.
My next beer was one I saw trending on Untappd so I thought I’d try it out. Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing Company out of Michigan. A “Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout” – honestly, I think I would have gotten this out of sheer intrigue even without seeing it trending. I’ve had chocolate and double chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, and oatmeal stouts, but all together?!
Honestly, my mouth didn’t even know what was going on for the first half of the glass. Dark and rich, surprises of spice and roasted sweetness – holy wow. Honestly, I think this beer was just too complex for my palate! Thankfully I bought a 4-pack, so I’ll have a few more chances to really get a grip on this meal of a brew.