Beer Review: Stouts-Part I

Last week I reviewed five IPA’s for the summer time. In fact IPA’s are ubiquitous at this time of year in the PNW.However how can we forget our friends of the darker persuasion. So let’s go to the other extreme and review some stouts.

Beers are sort of like dogs: although they are of the same species, they can vary greatly. Isn’t it amazing that a stout, a red, and a pale ale are all called beer yet they are so vastly different? Shut up, it is amazing and it is also a great observation/analogy.

Stouts and porters are probably my favorite of all the species of beer. You get the most variety in this subset; the brewery can really flex their creative muscle with a darker beer. IT is sort of like red vs white wine; of course red wine is better! It is far more complex than some chilled light grape juice. Once again, another awesome analogy.

So without further ado, here are five reviews of stouts (in no particular order). I love my dark brew, so there will be more to come later as well.

1. Georgetown - Lisa’s Chocolate Nitro Stout

8.3% ABV 30 IBU

I don’t know who Lisa is, but she makes a smooth, dark, rich stout. Georgetown is a local brewery who produces many fine beers like the Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and Sterling Archer. With the chocolate overtones, this beer is not only tasty, it can kick you in the can with that 8.3% ABV. The nitro process always smooths out the lumps of any beer, whether for good or for bad. Sometimes you want a bit more bite, and a 30 IBU is about as biting as an old man without dentures. But if you like your beers like Don Ho (Tiny Bubbles, get it? Another grade A reference) and not too milky (ala Guinness), give this one a taste.

Rating: 4/5

2. Midnight Sun - Second Hand Smoke Stout

8.4% ABV 56 IBU

Who would have thought second-hand smoke would be so good? I wouldn’t and I would be correct. I typically trust Alaskan breweries, but I may question that now. This beer is very complex; it’s thick, syrupy, strong malt flavor, and yes it does have that smoked taste that lingers around your mouth like a cheap cigar. The kicker is that it tasted like prune juice to me, and I’m too young to settle for that. This beer may be for some people with a more sophisticated palette, but not for me.

Rating: 2/5

3. Elysian - Dragontooth Oatmeal Stout

8.1% ABV 36 IBU

Another offering from our friends from Elysian, one of the main craft breweries in Seattle. This is one of their standard beers, and it does not disappoint.If you want your oatmeal stout to parallel a hearty breakfast of Quaker Oats, this is not the stout for you. This is a deep, rich, somewhat sweet stout that has only a hint of oatmeal tinge to it. If I didn’t know better, I would say it was more of the chocolate/coffee variety. It also is not as filling as other, lesser stouts. It has a lightness that allows you to drink more and more and more! Well, maybe you shouldn’t, it is 243 calories per 12 oz.

Rating: 4.5/5

4. Backwoods - Joe Coffee Stout

5.0% ABV 20 IBU

I like me some Backwoods, as stated in my previous post. It is the best thing to come out of South Washington since Kyle Mclaughlin. And this one doesn’t disappoint. It was not very filling but had a bold coffee flavor that kept the taste buds occupied. It is a bit on the soft side; 5.0% ABV makes me think I’m drinking in Utah and 20 IBU is about as bitter as Emmett Brickowski (BAM!!! another zinger by me! Lego Movie btw) so I would not perch it high on the stout totem pole. It’s a nice and kind beer and I like that.

Rating: 3.5/5

5. Epic - Son of a Baptist Imperial Stout

8.2% ABV No IBU

OK, here we go, Imperial Stouts! I love these guys. These are the heavyweights of the division. Strong, robust, big flavor, you either come strong or you go home. These brews are not for the weak of heart. So it is odd that a brewery out of Utah would have the courage to brew such a beast. To be fair, they did need help from neighboring Colorado (a fine craft beer hub for years) to help with the coffee, but this is mainly a Utah brew that Joseph Smith would be proud to call his own. Very strong smoke-coffee taste (and I mean very strong smoke-coffee taste) that attacks your palette like…something…that…attacks a lot. The analogy well ran dry I guess. Anyway, this beer kicks ass and I would say the best out of these five listed. However….it is only the SON of the Baptist. As a side note, the daddy of the son, the Big Bad Baptist, it better. But that is a tale for a different day.

Rating: 4.5/5