This article is sponsored by our friends at Bowser’s Restaurant in Center Twp. If you are looking for an awesome seasonal stout this winter, they have all of Corey’s favorites plus a few more great options. Join their email list and you’ll automatically be entered in their monthly drawing for $25 gift certificates!
Don’t get too comfortable with this recent string of warmer weather. We all know the Arctic-freeze of the Northeast is fast approaching like a runaway freight train.
Sometimes it seems the winter months can only afford snow and freezing temps. On the bright side, we have Christmas and New Year’s to look forward to. After that it’s the inevitable. We’re thrown into the abyss of darkness as we wait for the Spring thaw. Along with a solid snow shovel and my favorite movies, winter beer helps me get through the bleak months of winter. Turning my winter frown slightly upside-down.
When it comes to the variety of winter beer, you’re likely to envision an aggressively spiced ale. Something fruity, nutty, spicy and full of character only fit for a Viking. I applaud the craftsmanship and popularity in the release of this winter wonderland — however, I’ve been hard pressed to stay on board with any of them since my showdown with a half dozen Mad Elves. I’m basic I know, but I can’t help but comparing the painful existence to the haunting memories of my Aunt Mildred’s homemade fruitcake.
Luckily, it’s not the only seasonal beer release as we head towards winter.
For me, the beers I seek are rich in flavor, dark in color, and with enough roasted, malty goodness to keep your blood warm all winter long. I think of a beer with layers of chocolate. A beer that pours like molasses and sometimes brewed with coffee. A battle tested beer — ready to combat the cold winter months.
Who needs a hat and gloves when you have a variety of American made Imperial Stouts.
So sit-back, bust out your favorite movie trilogy, and pour yourself any one of these delicious seasonal stouts.
Reader’s Note: The following Stouts are available at select bars, bottle shops, and distributors in and around Beaver County. Stay warm and please drink responsibly my friends.
Black Chocolate Stout – 10.0% ABV
Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, New York
One of the first craft beers I ever laid my hands on was a Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery. Needless to say I fell in love, and as I look back nothing has changed. I look forward to a taste with every passing winter.
It is one of the more affordable among the Imperial Stouts — a crowd pleaser to say the least.
Black Chocolate pours to the vision of a pitch-black winter’s night, with strong roasted aroma and vigorous hits of dark chocolate.
If you happen to bring Black Chocolate to your next ugly sweater party, then just remember these two rules: Sip slow, and always give your better half the car keys.
Ten FIDY Imperial Stout – 10.5% ABV
Oskar Blues Brewery – Lyons, Colorado – Brevard, North Carolina
Oskar Blues seasonal brew is a masterful stout, with smooth flavors of chocolate and coffee to camouflage its immense 98 IBUs. Named “Ten FIDY” in reference to its alcohol content. This stout dispels any ideas that only 30-packs of water-downed pilsners and lagers come in cans.
Oskar Blues distributes all of their beer in cans and is partly responsible for the craft can revolution. The most recycled beverage container on the planet is becoming more and more popular among American craft breweries. Easy cleanup and zero light penetrates the idled beer as it awaits consumption.
If you’re looking for something to keep you warm during cold weather camping, or after a brisk hike — Ten FIDY can be the something you’re looking for.
Choklat Stout – 10.0% ABV
Southern Tier Brewing Company – Lakewood, New York
Choklat Imperial Stout is part of Southern Tier’s famed Blackwater series. It’s powerful, it smells like cocoa butter, and taste like boozy chocolate-cake. Exciting for any chocolate stout lover.
Brewed with semisweet Belgium chocolate, two varieties of hops, and four types of malts, to give this Imperial stout a nice bittersweet punch to keep you coming back for more.
How to defeat cabin fever 101: Pour Choklat Imperial Stout over vanilla ice cream — then proceed to smile. If you’re looking for a winter road trip — Southern Tier is only a three hour drive from the county.
Blackout Stout – 9.0% ABV
Great Lakes Brewing Company – Cleveland, Ohio
If Cleveland could only represent themselves in the National Football League half as well as they brew beer — they would be a serious threat, year after year. I won’t preach to you about how illustrious the beers from Great Lakes are, because you should know by now. But if you haven’t had their winter release of Blackout Stout, then put it at the top of your to-do list.
Named after the 2003 Northeastern power outage, Blackout pours like 10w-30, smells like a whirlwind of roasted malts, and has a nice bitter finish to accompany the enjoyable smell of sweet chocolate. Are you warm yet?
Breakfast Stout – 8.3% ABV
Founders Brewing Company – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Although it may smell and taste like breakfast — please take the name with a grain of salt. Dangerously smooth is this Cadillac of stouts.
Breakfast stout is one of those beers I would love to see under the Christmas tree. Or at least lucky enough to find somewhere offering it on tap before it’s all gone. I’ll be more than happy to help them kick the keg. This award winning American double stout is packed with robust flavors of chocolate and coffee.
Breakfast Stout has a big brother who goes by the name KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). In the Spring, Founders has a limited release of this 11.2% ABV Imperial Stout. If you get your hands anywhere near it — grab it and bring it to me, please.