We may live in an IPA world these days, but the stout is still alive and well in the craft-beer era, which is good news for fans of dark, silky liquids in their pint glasses.
According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, the style has its origins in England, where it evolved from the stout porter: “Although the term ‘stout’ first emerged in England in the 1700s to describe the high-alcohol, bolder-flavored version of any beer style, over time it became closely associated with the porter style. In the late 1800s, regular porters fell out of favor and the designation stout porter was eventually simplified to stout.”
Of course, that original iteration launched countless variants, from the boozy Russian imperial stout (brewed originally in England for Peter the Great), to the silky oatmeal stout and the sweet, lactose-infused milk stout. Many people tend to think of stouts as cold-weather sippers, but that’s a misconception—after all, few beers are as sessionable as the classic dry Irish stout (we see you, Guinness), and few things pair as well with the barbecued meats of a cookout like a roast-y, smoky stout.
Today, old-fashioned recipes share shelf space with new takes on the genre, dosed with everything from single-origin coffee beans to local cherries. So which stouts are worth your hard-earned sheckles (and remaining liver capacity)? We brought that question to our panel of experts—including brewers, bar owners, and journalists—to find out which dark brews they can’t live without.
- Mike Lovullo, specialty brands manager for Union Beer Distributors
- Jeff Gorlechen, co-founder, Sixpoint
- Tony Forder, editor/president, Ales Street New
- Wendy Littlefield, Vanberg & DeWulf
- Dave Brodrick, founder of Blind Tiger Ale House
- Ale Sharpton, beer journalist and author of Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’
- Clare Goggin Sivits, beer writer (@beergoggins)
- Chris Schonberger, editor-in-chief of First We Feast
Any favorites you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments.
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