In the Georgian-era, stout simply meant “strong.” Stouts were more potent versions of porter. Made with an extra helping of dark grains for added booze and body, stout quickly caught on, most famously in Ireland and Russia where the style received an extra punch for the journey. Today, those so-called imperial stouts reign stateside. Imperial stouts spell comfort, warming us on a cold, windy day. Before even taking our first sip, we can smell the roasted malt. Depending on the variety, we may get a touch of chocolate, maybe even vanilla or bourbon. The first sip steals our soul. It’s sweet as chocolate. Sometimes bitter, too, like a Fernet Branca. It’s a warm blanket. It’s fuzzy slippers. It’s our to-go flight of the day in celebration of our weeklong Darkwave dark beer journey to the end of Black Friday, ignoring Thanksgiving as we’ll be closed. Push your way past hazy IPAs and grab Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Imperial Stout Flight.
Heathen El Chocolate Caliente
Heathen Brewing releases a pastry stout, mimicking a spiced hot chocolate, a classic Mexican winter drink. Brewed with cacao, chili peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, lactose, and vanilla, this sweet and silky imperial stout hits the nose with rich milk chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla. On the tongue, expect sweet milk chocolate complemented by a balanced hint of cinnamon, cream, and vanilla, with spicy notes.
Brothers Cascadia Brewing’s Sleigh Tripper imperial stout is brewed with chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla. It hits the nose with spice, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and hints of coffee that leads into a creamy body. On the tongue, expect dark chocolate and coffee with ample amount of cinnamon.
Abomination Santa’s Black Blood
According to Abomination Brewing in Pennsylvania, “The name ‘Abomination’ stems from the fact that for hundreds of years, Germany had a beer purity law, or Reinheitsgebot, that placed strict demands on what was and wasn’t legally allowed to put in beer. This law stifled creativity and forced German brewers to create only tradition styles of beer with little to no variation. It could be said that they would look at what ABC is doing as an abomination to what they consider beer. We look to continue pushing the envelope of beer with new and exciting hop profiles and tweaks on old and new world styles.” Abomination certainly pushes it with their Santa’s Black Blood, a creamy, double pastry stout brewed with vanilla beans, milk sugar, and eggnog spices.
Collaboration with Montavilla’s Sebastiano’s Sicilian Deli, Threshold Brewing‘s Jack Knife milk stout is brewed with a bit of lactose then aged 9 months in Westward Whiskey barrels for whiskey and oak notes on the first sip with a boozy but mellow dark chocolatey finish.