Editor’s Note: This column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).
Last winter, we wrote about American stouts and the beer’s rising popularity among American Craft brewers. That momentum hasn’t slowed down. Along with new, flavored Porters, dark oak-aged brews, and dark Belgium strong ales, dark beers are here to stay. Of Beer Advocate’s top 250 rated beers, stouts own four of the top 10 spots.
American brewers are reviving a more robust type of stout. Many people are surprised to hear that famous Irish stouts such as Guinness, and Murphy’s are actually rather light beers. The black appearance gives an impression of heaviness. But in actuality, the strength of these beers does not top 4.5 percent, making them lighter than some mass-produced light beers.
This was not always the case. Most stouts of the early 20th century were very strong. Americans are now brewing traditional stouts and making them even stronger. Some follow Irish and English styles, but others have a depth of hop and roast character not found in their European counterparts.
Many American stouts are virtual meals in themselves, but if you get dishes with big flavors, American stouts can be great companions.
With the lingering cold weather, it’s a perfect time to pair a winter meal with an American stout. The roasted malt flavors will give almost any of these beers the ability to partner a charbroiled steak. (There’s a reason why there’s a cut of steak called the “Porterhouse”).
Stouts are also an excellent choice with slow-roasted barbecues and burgers. A big American stout will stand up to all the fixings and will match the char on the meat. Even cured meats will go great with a robust stout. The dryness of the roast flavor seems to draw out the salt, allowing the flavor of the meat to shine. Mexican and Cajun dishes, which usually are full of their own roasty flavors, pair excellent with stouts as well.
No beer goes better with a chocolate dessert than stouts do. As you can see, stouts are the perfect dinner companions during these cold months. Here are a few great American stouts available at Georgetown Square Wine and Beer to try with your dinner:
Narwhal Imperial Stout Sierra Nevada Brewery Chico, California 10.5% A.B.V
Sierra Nevada has built itself a fantastic reputation that many breweries would give anything to achieve, and it has done this by brewing world class beers. Narwhal stout is a great example of a world class, high quality beer. It’s fantastic.
Full bodied and smooth with notes of coffee, chocolate, caramel and sweet vanilla, Narwhal is a stellar example of new American Stouts. Try pairing Narwhal with your next barbecue dinner, whether it’s short ribs, brisket or a juicy hamburger topped with sweet barbecue sauce, Narwhal will latch on to that sweetness and never let go.We have limited stock of it available at the store.
Dogfish World Wide Stout Dogfish Brewery Milton, Deleware 18% A.B.V
The king of American stouts described by Dogfish as, “A very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley.” With World Wide’s ridiculous alcohol content, this stout has more in common with a port wine than your everyday typical stout — making it absolutely perfect for an after dinner drink accompanied by a delicious chocolate dessert. Extremely limited production.
Voo Doo Stout Left Coast Brewing Co San Clemente, California 8.5% A.B.V.
Voo Doo is a full-bodied, dark brew that is rich and malty with plenty of roasted barley character. This hearty stout is layered with flavor that will pair perfectly with any grilled or broiled steak, lamb, burger and Mexican food.
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