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Sláinte To Sexy Stouts

Stouts are sexy. Yes, you read that correctly. Hear me out on this: You are sitting at the bar, checking out the hot guy or girl nearby and, if you are a beer snob like me, you want to see what they are drinking. Jason Momoa’s favorite beer is Guinness. That’s all I need to say about that.


I know spring is on the way, but stouts don’t go out of season, just like the white jeans you’re told you not to wear after Labor Day. Fuck it! We get to make our own rules, so let’s get our stout on!

What style is best for you? Do you want an Irish Stout, American Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, Pastry Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Milk Stout, or an Imperial Stout? If you can’t decide, sip some with me.

An Irish stout made with unmalted barley is dry and less sweet. Canned Heat Brewing and Strong Side Brewing came out with an Irish style extra stout called Scally Cap. Canned Heat describes this as a beer that “wears its Irish heritage proudly with three traditional ingredients — flaked barley, roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast.” It is conditioned in Irish whiskey-soaked American oak. I sipped it at the brewery on draft and it stands true to that flavor in cans. It has coffee on the nose and front palate. As it warms, more of the roasted flavor, a touch of vanilla with coffee, comes through. The back-end palate has that taste of whiskey you’d expect from the conditioned, soaked oak but not in an overly boozy way. It finishes dry. I have to say this 7.5% ABV stout crafted by Canned Heat head brewer Justin Hollamander and Strong Side head brewer Dave Hughes is done very well, and I am loving the added whiskey conditioning. Did you know that Irishmen have been voted sexiest in the world? This “Scally” is, too.

Now let’s talk about one of my favorite stout styles: Imperial Stouts. This is a big beer which means it’s higher in alcohol and has more intense flavors. Black Hexes from Proclamation Ale Company is an example of the style. This 10% Imperial is lactose-free. It pours a dark brown color with a tan dissipating head. There are notes of dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Hints of hazelnut and sweet figs linger on the palate. The 10% Imperial has me under its spell.

Another big beer style is a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. This is also an Imperial and as the name suggests is aged in bourbon barrels. Lee Lord, the brewer of Narragansett Brewing Co, has perfected this in her Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Dumb Stout. Clocking in at a 12% ABV, this beauty pours a dark brown with a tan dissipating head. There are notes of bourbon and toffee on the nose. Bourbon is dominant from the first sip into the back end palate. Dark chocolate is present on the end sip and lingers. I am a sapiophile and there is nothing “dumb” about this stout.

When it comes to Oatmeal Stouts, I can’t help but think about breakfast in bed. In fact this type of stout is also called a Breakfast Stout. I had this style recently at Crook Point Brewing and had the pleasure of being in the company of John Windle, the head brewer. Windle explained to me that his Watchemoket Chocolate Stout was made with 13 pounds of cocoa nibs and 60 hand-shucked vanilla beans. Windle explained that “the oats added bring a softer mouthfeel.” This 5.7% ABV breakfast pint pours a dark brown with tan lacing. It is not overly sweet. It is roasty with a slight bitter taste on the front palate evenly balanced with chocolate notes on the back end sip.

Last but not least there is the Pastry Stout. I am not a dessert person but would gladly order the liquid version. This style is brewed with the intention of being sweet. One of the best beers locally representing this style is Penny from Six Pack Brewing. Mark Papi, owner and head brewer, told me, “It tastes like liquid Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.” I have to agree, it truly is my favorite combination of peanut butter meets chocolate. Papi added, “We use a ridiculous amount of peanut butter.” I told Papi that Penny is impossible not to love. “She” is full of an intense peanut butter aroma that falls deeply into the front-end palate and dominates into the back-end sip, along with a touch of rich coffee and sweet milk chocolate that lingers on the tongue. If that isn’t sexy to you, you need to check your pulse. Penny has an ABV of 7% so if you are not a light weight, you can definitely sip on two!

So you see, stouts are sexy. They can be dry, smooth, creamy, sweet, bitter, chocolatey, and boozy. With that much versatility, your options are endless. Now, go get yourself a sexy-ass pint of a local stout!