Tis the season

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First Posted: 11/16/2014

As the cold bitter chill of winter slowly envelops us and our long days turn into longer nights many choose to switch from light to dark beers. This has long been a tradition for brewers and drinkers as the higher ABV of the beers helps to warm the body and fight off the chilly air.

While porters are certainly welcome, this time of the year is often referred to as stout season and with good reason. The hearty roasted characteristics of stouts that emanate notes of dark chocolate and coffee are perfect to enjoy while warming yourself by the fireplace.

Stouts are certainly brewed year round but shelves are now being stocked full of an incredible array of stouts, but what ones to try first? Here is a short life of stouts to enjoy this winter.

1. Sierra Nevada- Sierra Nevada Stout: While Sierra Nevada has gained a stellar reputation from fantastic beers such as Pale Ale, Hoptimum, and their fantastic imperial stout Narwhal among many others. They also prove that they can brew a world class American Stout with Sierra Nevada Stout, the rich and creamy flavors and 5.8% ABV make this a great stout to have on hand for any occasion.

2. Brooklyn Brewery- Black Chocolate Stout: Black Chocolate Stout is a beer that is much anticipated with many picking up extra to age for future sampling. The 10% ABV and rich roasted malt characteristics make this a great beer to enjoy now or age for a few years. The bitter dark chocolate and coffee notes make this a beer everyone can enjoy.

3. Goose Island- Bourbon County Stout: The desire for this beer is palpable each year as it is released in late November. Goose Island now boasts the largest barrel aging program in the country and each year they unleash new variations to the Bourbon County line but this stout started it all. The 14.3% ABV make this a beer to be sipped, but notes of bourbon blend with bitter chocolate and coffee for a beer that will not soon be forgotten!

4. Lagunitas Brewing Company- Imperial Stout: Lagunitas is known and loved by fans of hops with their amazing IPA and Hop Stoopid, but Lagunitas knows how

to brew dark beers perfectly as well as evident with this Russian Imperial Stout. Strong notes of dark chocolate bitterness and espresso are apparent throughout and the 9.9% ABV warm the body slowly, another win for Lagunitas!

5. Great Divide Brewing Company- Yeti Imperial Stout: Yeti is a beer the Great Divide has built a stellar status upon and if you have tried this beer you know why, because it is absolutely incredible! Smooth and easy drinking with a richness that is unmatched. This is a beer that pairs well with a wide variety of foods too and expands beyond the standard dessert pairing. Get this one in any variation that you can find!

Stouts have certainly expanded beyond the typical Guinness and have earned their rightful place in your fridge, so get out there and warm up with a delicious stout this winter!