Beer and travel author Dan Rabin and RadCraft founder Emily Hutto, gave a talk at the Denver Press Club in November about the variety among styles of the beloved Stout beer style. Thanks again to The Press Club for having us, and thanks to Dan for this great idea. He wanted to convey the true spectrum that is Stout styles, and he's largely responsible for choosing the beer list below.
It should be noted that Dan was one of the first contributors to the #DailyStout campaign for Water for Good, too!
Here are four varieties of Stouts, with examples of each style to boot. Happy Stout Month!
Dry Irish Stout: Carlow Brewing Co. (aka O’Hara’s Brewery) O’Hara’s Irish Stout, 4.3% ABV 40 IBU
This family-owned brewery began operating in 1996 as a pioneer in Irish craft brewing. While the Dry Irish Stout style is generally synonymous with Guinness, there’s a perception among many that the Guinness brewed today by the Irish corporate giant lacks the robust character of the Guinness of old. O’Hara’s Irish Stout is often described as “authentic,” “traditional,“ and “how stouts used to taste.” Indeed, the beer hits all the right notes stylistically with a smooth malt base, coffee-like roastiness, dry finish and low alcohol content conducive to partaking in multiple pints. Its flavors are best expressed when served cool, not cold.
Sweet Stout: Finkel & Garf Brewing Co. Oatmeal Milk Stout, 5.5% ABV, 36 IBU
Stylistically, this Boulder-brewed stout represents a hybrid of Sweet Stout and Oatmeal Stout. F&G is committed to subtlety and approachability in its beers, and this one in particular is brewed to debunk assumptions that dark and “sweet” beers are scary, chewy, or cloying. It has just the right roundness of roast, dark chocolate, and malt sweetness that washes down smooth and slightly sweet. The silky mouthfeel of this stout is created through the use of about 10 percent oats in its grain bill. F&G Oatmeal Milk Stout is the 2017 GABF gold medal winner in the Sweet or Cream Stout category.
Foreign Export Stout: Left Hand Brewing Co. Fade to Black Vol. 1, 8.5% ABV 30 IBU
Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing may be best known for its smooth milk stout, but the brewery’s seasonal Fade to Black Vol. 1 Foreign Export Stout has garnered its own collection of prestigious awards including three gold medals and one silver at the Great American Beer Festival, and a gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup. The beer is big, bold, complex and highly satisfying. As it warms, a variety of flavors emerge including coffee, chocolate, licorice and dark fruits. At 8.5%, it toes the line, but doesn’t quite enter the terrain of Imperial Stouts.
Imperial Stout: Great Divide Brewing Co. Yeti Imperial Stout, 9.5% ABV, 75 IBU
This beer is big in every way. Made by the home of Colorado’s original strong ale (Hibernation Ale, first brewed in in 1995), Great Divide’s infamous Yeti is a classic example of the Imperial Stout style, winner of three Great American Beer Festival awards in the Imperial Stout category. It’s a liquid balancing act between big, roasty malt flavor and bold hop flavor and aroma. Stout in general and specifically Yeti has been a great canvas for brewing creations, which at Great Divide have been an array of Yeti varietals including Espresso Oak-Aged and Oatmeal Yeti.