Autumn is coming….I feel it in the air…I see it in the trees….I taste it in the beer.
Finally the time is coming to shelve the lighter IPA-esque brews so we can make way for the darker stuff. Stouts are probably my favorite beer and I have plenty of beers to refer to.
So here are five stouts that have been logged in my catalog-o-brew:
1. West Seattle Brew - Sevens Stoot
6.1% ABV 6 IBU
This is sort of cheating because this is a very small brewery that is close to my home, so you will probably never see this one anywhere unless you visit me. But if you ever find yourself with me in West Seattle, try this one out. Seven Stoot (not a misspelling) is a rich chocolatey beer with a great aftertaste and a very smooth front end, middle end, and back end. 6.1% will not bust you in the chops, which is a good thing from time to time, and leaves you wanting more. West Seattle Brew makes about 4 different stouts (they also delve in coffee, so feel that is a reason for their proclivity for the dark stuff), but this one is the best.
2. Sumerian - Black Barrel Stout
6.4% ABV 67 IBU
Definitely a hoppy fare for a stout, the Black Barrel almost doesn’t taste like a stout. Or at least the type of stouts I like to drink. It is thin, it is unbalanced, and it has that pruney taste that only grandmothers like. The people at Sumerian claim they barrel age this stuff in whiskey barrels, but I say don’t bother; save the barrels for the hard stuff and dump this prune juice out.
3. Sierra Nevada - Stout of the Union
7.3% ABV 64 IBU
First off, great name Sierra Nevada. You are sooo punny. Seriously, I dig the name. Seriously, I am neutral on the stout. It has a nice foretaste (if that is a thing), so you think as you are drinking it you will really like this stuff. However at the end you become quite bitter. Well, maybe not ‘you’, but your tongue sure does. It has a bitter after shock that is probably based on the high IBUs. It is not awful, I mean it also has a bold coffee taste to it. But I think you can do better. There are so many good stouts in this world, why settle for such a bitter experience?
4. American - Caboose Oatmeal Stout
6.2% ABV 30 IBU
Oatmeal stouts are probably my favorite type of stout, or at least they seem the most consistent to me. This offering from American, out of Edmonds WA, has about the worst 1-2 punch of naming in all of beer. American? Can you be more generic? Why not name your place ‘Beer’ or ‘Stuff’? And Caboose? There is no reason I would want the tap handle pulled for this guy other than the fact I like oatmeal stouts. As far as this beer goes….well…it is OK. It has a nutty overtone to it which I like, but there is nothing complex or compelling about this beer. It is good and would have it again, but I am not hunting around for this Caboose.
5. Alaskan - Oatmeal Stout
6.2% ABV 28 IBU
I know I was getting a little esoteric with some of these choices; Seattle is teeming with local stuff that doesn’t have wide distribution. IT is a great place to try interesting stuff, but I know not every reader has access to these beers. So here is a more mainstream one that, yes, is based in Juneau, but has wide distribution for being a craft beer brewery. So here is their take on an oatmeal stout, aptly named ‘Oatmeal Stout’. This is more of what I expect from an oatmeal; bold, flavorful with hints of caramel and coffee, very balanced, and just makes you want to drink more. This is a very strong representation of the oatmeal genre. If you ever see this one in stores (which you may during the winter time), give it a shot.