When the days grow shorter and the beer gardens tend to get passed by in search of a snug, fire-warmed pub, there is one thing that’s on my mind… Stout.
I absolutely love these beautiful, dark, full-bodied brews that lend notes of coffee, chocolate, toffee and roast. They are the ultimate winter beverage and one that you have to try, even if you claim not to like “dar-beers”.
I am a true missionary for good beer and often find myself trying to convert people to certain brews I love. I find that stouts are one of the most misunderstood beers varieties and are often shunned by people who have never actually tasted one in their life. Or maybe they tried one in the past but never tried another, assuming they are all unsuited to their tastebuds.
If I had a dollar for every person who I have converted to dark beer by giving them a taste of a good quality, fresh stout served just below cellar temperature in a bulbous snifter glass, then I would be a rich man!
So if you don’t mind, I would like to give you a few of my tips when it comes to drinking stout. If you have any of your own, then feel free to post them!
1. First of all, the right glassware is paramount! Drinking a beer straight from the bottle is like eating a fine meal with a peg on your nose. You just won’t get the whole experience.
I love drinking good Stouts out of bulbous ‘snifter’ glasses (for congnac/brandy). I find these glasses allow you to swirl the beer, releasing the bubbles and thus the aroma. The shape of the glass will allow the aroma to gather and you can then take a big whiff of that soothing coffee, chocolate, roasty aroma.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned pint or schooner glass. Just make sure you pour your fine brew in a glass!
2. Serving temperature. For god’s sake, don’t drink your stout freezing cold! You will mask 90% of all the flavour and aroma. I like to let my stout warm up to just below room temperature by swirling it around and releasing most of the carbonation before I drink it.
3. Find a Stout that’s right for you. The good thing about beer is just how many thousands of varieties there are out there. When it comes to Stout, you have so many options to choose from.
If you like creamy, full bodied beers maybe try a Milk Stout. If you like you big, high alcohol, intensely-flavoured beer, maybe try a Russian Imperial Stout.
If you are not sure, then try a few different ones and find your flavour niche. I am a big fan of Oatmeal and Russian Imperial Stouts.
Here are a few of my favourite stouts so far:
1. Clout Stout (Nail Brewing) : Russian Imperial Stout
2. Boris (Feral Brewing Company) : Russian Imperial Stout
3. 4 Pines Stout
4. Epic Epicurean Coffee and Fig Oatmeal Stout
5. Southwark Old Stout
6. Moo Brew Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.
If you get a chance to try any of these, let me know what you think!
And if you have any suggestions for beers I should try, let me know on facebook: www.facebook.com/thebeerpilgrim or instagram: @thebeerpilgrim