12 Stouts to Drink on St. Patrick’s Day (That Aren’t Guinness)

IMG_1291While Guinness is the undeniable icon in a world of Stouts, it’s not the most flavorful or complex beer on the market.

The classic Stout has its roots in England. It first emerged in the 1700’s as a way to describe bolder-flavored beers. From there it became an exclusive descriptor of porters and, eventually, its own style altogether.

In the current craft beer scene, the stout is alive and well – and there have never been more varieties to choose from. The Stout has taken many forms in recent and far off history with distinct styles such as milk, oatmeal, imperial, and American. So for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities, consider checking out one of these renowned Stouts as an alternative to the traditional Guinness.

12. Cavatica Stout • Fort George

At 8.8%, this American Double Stout is both strong and immense. Brewed in Astoria, Oregon, the Cavatica stout has a roasted malt aroma that is balanced by notes of dark chocolate. Slight hints of bitterness give way to a dry finish. Look out for special editions that are aged in rum barrels.

11. Eldon • Thornbridge

Named after one of the seven wonders of The Peak District, this smooth Imperial Stout is brewed in Ashford in the Water, England. Demerara sugar was used in the brewing gives this beer a subtle molasses flavor and the addition of bourbon soaked oak adds to the complexity. Coming in at an ABV of 8% you can expect this beer to pour dark with a minimal, tan-colored head.

10. Obsidian Stout • Deschutes Brewing

Ranking in at the lower end of the ABV spectrum, the Obsidian Stout is only a 6.4%. Don’t let the low ABV discourage you from seeking out this flavorful beer. Roasted malts and black barley are rounded out with notes of espresso and a hint of hops on the finish to cut the sweetness. This beer is meant to be savored.

9. Velvet Merkin • Firestone Walker

This Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout has taken consecutive gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival (wood and barrel-aged category). The roasty dark, chocolatey brew goes into barrels at 5.5% and emerges at a bold and boozy 8.5%. Notes of infused dark cherries, coconut, and vanilla complement this rich stout.

8. Yeti Imperial Stout • Great Divide

Brewed in Denver, Colorado, the Yeti is a truly imperial brew with and ABV of 9.5%. It carries a huge malt forward body dominated by roasted barley and hints of caramel. A wonderfully dry finish is created by a citrus and pine hop profile.

7. Kentucky Breakfast Stout • Founders

The massive 11.2% ABV may not have you thinking breakfast, but the full-bodied bourbon warmth will have you savoring this smooth beer nonetheless. KBS is brewed with hints of coffee and vanilla then cave-aged in bourbon barrels. This beer is best enjoyed decanted at room temperature.

6. Ten FIDY • Oskar Blues

The complex, malty goodness of Ten FIDY is apparent in its flavor reminiscent of a chocolate-covered caramel. The blanket of malts hides this beer’s vicious 98 IBUs. A full-bodied mouthfeel makes this smooth, 10.5% ABV Imperial Stout a straightforward classic.

5. Old Rasputin • North Coast

This classic Russian Imperial Stout is one of the most popular beers to cellar, proving its intensely bold flavor can stand the test of time. The 9% ABV Old Rasputin is brewed in the tradition of the 18th Century methods that were used to supply Russia with a taste of the English Stout. With an aroma of coffee and chocolate that gives way to bready, malty backbone, this delicious stout finishes with a subtle boozy bitterness.

4. Earl • Hill Farmstead

Named for brewer Shaun Hill’s great-uncle, Earl is a 7.2% ABV Oatmeal Stout crafted with American malts. Brewed with Guatemalan coffee, this beer effortlessly combines complexity and drinkability. A creamy body is provided by the generous flaked oats used to make it. Earl ends with a pleasantly bitter finish.

3. Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout • Cigar City

Borrowing its name from a Mayan legend involving a cacao tree, the Hunahpu’s unique flavor profile undoubtedly involves some notes of chocolate. So renowned that it even has its own holiday the second weekend of every March, this limited release from Cigar City has certainly left its mark on beer drinkers across the world. An aroma of cinnamon and vanilla on the nose gives way to balanced notes of chilies and tobacco as you begin to enjoy this beer. Let it warm up for awhile to truly appreciate the full complexity this beer has to offer. Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout has an ABV of 11%.

2. Bourbon County Stout  • Goose Island

The cult classic that Bourbon County has become cannot be ignored. Consistently ranking among the top with beer tasters. Bourbon County has a massive ABV of 14.2% but doesn’t compromise drinkability for high alcohol content. A nose of charred oak, vanilla and caramel. This beer’s smooth finish will warm you up from the inside.

1. Parabola  • Firestone Walker

One of the most aggressive Stouts you will ever enjoy, Parabola offers a smooth, dark 14% ABV treat of a beer. With past anniversary blends, popular for cellaring, the Parabola stands out as a dry Stout bittered with Zeus hops. Best savored in small amounts, the savory qualities this beer possesses, like tobacco and umami, are bold and intense.


 

Tasting Note: Enjoy any (or all) of these beers in a snifter glass and allow them to have a chance to warm up to fully appreciate the complexity of flavors each brew has to offer.

We like to pair our Stouts with:

  • Vanilla frozen custard
  • Wild mushrooms or black truffles
  • French onion soup
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Reuben sandwiches
  • A mix of dried cranberries and herb toasted pecans
  • A nice, bold cigar
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