Did you know February is Stout Month? Now you do! The origin of the word “stout” in the beer world was to designate a strong brew. In fact, Guinness used the word to describe its strongest porter in the 1800s. Centuries later, the stout category has developed into a ranging class of dark beers known for rich, malty flavors and smooth textures. Today, beer drinkers have varieties like milk stout — which is sweetened from the sugars in lactose — to dry stout (often soft and easy drinking), oatmeal stout and even oyster stout in which the beer is infused with the bivalve.
Complementing the roasted, full-flavored body of a stout possibly to its fullest, coffee beans make kindred spirits with stouts — here are a few local renditions to sip.
pFriem Family Brewers Dry
The dry stout from this Hood River, Oregon, brewer is no exception to the excellent standard pFriem holds to all of its beers. This stout will not punch you in the tongue with coffee flavors, however the aromas and subtle hints are enough to remind you of your favorite cup of Joe. At just 4.8% ABV, the beer is easy to drink as well as being dry and lower proof enough to have more than one.
Bozeman Brewing Buzz Kill
Brewed in collaboration with Rockford Coffee Roasters also in Bozeman, Montana, this is another one of those coffee stouts that tastes like a cold brew from your favorite coffee shop. To get the massive coffee flavor, the stout is cold steeped with a blend of beans. If there ever were to be a beer to drink on a Sunday morning, this one might be it.
Bale Breaker Dormancy Breakfast
This beer from Bale Breaker in Yakima, Washington, is one of the most flavorful canned stouts available on the market. It sits comfortably at 6.8% ABV, making it strong and lively. Packed with coffee beans from a fellow Yakima crafter, Lincoln Avenue Espresso, this beer is the full package of sweet, roasted and smoky flavors.
Fort George Waves of Silence
This Astoria, Oregon, brewery has been known to put out some delicious stouts — and hosts an annual party, the Festival of Dark Arts, for the beer during February’s Stout Month. Waves of Silence is a hefty, rich beer that doesn’t venture down the path of sickly sweet while still having a thickness to its texture. Although it isn’t labeled as a coffee stout on the can — and each batch showcases a different recipes — there is undoubtable coffee flavor and aroma in the most recent batch from the first can’s first crack to last sip.
Modern Times Black House
It would be a complete injustice to write this list without including the California brewery burst onto the scene in Portland and now roasts its own coffee beans to be used in its beers as well as sold separately. Modern Times‘ Black House is an expertly crafted coffee stout that tastes like a mocha cappuccino, minus the dairy.
Idaho Brewing Wolf’s Oatmeal Stout
The oatmeal stout is one of the most creamy, satisfying beers on the market. The rich body comes from the oats which are soaked into the mash. It’s no secret that potent espresso flavors will pair perfectly with the smoothness of the oats. Wolf’s Oatmeal Stout lends all of these flavor combinations and more at 6.8% ABV and a next-to-nothing IBU.