With all of the recent hubub about the State of the Union address here in the US, I thought I’d share a few hundred words about the STOUT of the Union! I’m pleased to tell you that it has never been better! The variety, the quality and the selection is the best in stout history! Also, stouts are available more during the entire year than ever before! Let me expound on a few things that have been on my mind…
I’m not sure who the governing body is for all of these special “days” or “months” that we like to celebrate and commemorate but whoever decided that the shortest month of the year should be Stout month seriously miscalculated! All kidding aside, we’re nearing the end of February and what many would consider the end of Stout Season. Being the Stoutwhisperer, there is no such thing as Stout Season, unless you want to consider the entire year a “season”. In actuality, if you want to put an exclamation point on the busy part of the stout release season, I would submit to you that exclamation point is the annual Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) release by Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Whatever your feelings are about Founders, KBS is one of the early bourbon barrel aged Stouts and deserves a place in the Stout Hall of Fame! The annual KBS release is in early March and Founders makes it an event, starting in it’s home state of Michigan and then rolling it out nationally. After the KBS release, things start to settle down and the brewer calendar starts to transition to the lighter colored brews……perhaps with one exception. The good people at Toppling Goliath are having their 2019 vintage Assassin release on March 30 this year. Stout lovers bought up all the tickets to the release in mere minutes and the migration to Decorah, Iowa will commence in late March. Note: I wish I could show a picture of Assassin, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to see it in the wild, much less taste it on draught or from the bottle (that means ISO!)!
That all said, there will be Stout releases in April and May, perhaps at your local brewery. Stout releases tend to be few and far between in the summer months of June, July, and August…..but in September, things begin to crank back up and the Stouts begin to flow!
The increasing popularity of our favorite elixir (also known as the Stout) has broadened and widened the timeframes for releasing Stouts. It’s an abundance of riches for us…..but it also makes me pause. There are so many talented brewers out there creating incredible stouts and innovating with new and interesting ingredients.
Take for example, the team from Braxton Brewing in Covington, KY. Their claim to stout fame is their tasty Dark Charge Stout, released annually in December. Braxton Labs is their small batch experimental laboratory where they try new things and see how they turn out. I was fortunate enough to sample their Dark Charge with Pineapple and smoked Poblano Peppers. I was intrigued, as I felt it could be really tasty but I also thought it could be a train wreck if it wasn’t executed well. My fears were unfounded, as the sweetness and flavor profile from the pineapple shone through and the notes of smokiness and heat from the Poblanos tempered the pineapple to create a wonderful balanced stout. It worked and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to enjoy it!
All in all, the State of the Stout Union is incredible. We have more creative and innovative brewers than ever, which translates to more amazing and jaw dropping Stouts! There are more choices, adjuncts, and flavor choices than ever, which makes it an exciting time for us!
Let me know your favorite adjunct and the Stout which does the best job of showing it!
Until next time….never doubt a stout!