Darker days ahead, beers too

As clocks turn back and nightfall comes earlier in the day, the cooler weather moves in for the winter and so do the dark stouts that many have been waiting for.

Recognized by many bars, breweries, and beer lovers, November 6th is International Stout Day.  A full day dedicated to welcoming the many long lost stouts that have been missing since the spring.  Known for their dark, sometimes pitch black color, and their rich chocolaty, coffee, licorice, and roasty aromas and flavors, stouts begin to fill store shelves and continuously pour from beer taps until the warmer months begin to show their faces again.

Stout Image

Just like any other style of beer, there are a variety of stouts, the most popular of which are American, Milk, Imperial, and Oatmeal.  You’ll find lots of malt character in these, stemming from the grain used in the brewing process.  The bitterness that is often associated with these robust beers comes from the use of roasted grains, which also helps give them their dark color.

Head out to your local bar or liquor store and see what they’ve brought in for the season.  Breweries are getting crafty and adding all sorts of things to their stouts, including chocolate, cocoa nibs, coffee, hazelnut, pumpkin, and even cereal.  Try a variety to find out which style is your favorite, or maybe they are all your favorites…


You’ve got five or so months to get your fill of these seasonal crafts so seek out your favorites and enjoy them while they last, or stash some away for those times you’re craving something with bold, roasty flavors, in your glass.

Here is a list to get you started:

  • Alaskan – Stout
  • Big Sky Brewing – Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout, Ivan the Terrible (Imperial)
  • Black Bottle Brewery – Cerealiously (Milk Stout w/ Count Chocula), Liquid Metal (Imperial Rye Stout), and Static Age (Hazelnut Breakfast Stout)
  • Lagunitas – Imperial Stout, and Cappuccino Stout
  • Moab Brewery – Black Raven Oatmeal Stout
  • New Belgium – Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout
  • Oskar Blues – Ten Fidy (Imperial Stout)
  • Sierra Nevada – Narwhal Imperial Stout, and Stout
  • Tommy Knocker – Black Powder Oatmeal Stout (Pub exclusive)

Thanksgiving Beer Recommendations

With Thanksgiving upon us, we have those who have helped us in our hearts and turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie on our mind. Or maybe that’s just us! Many will spend the day with family and close friends, enjoying football, cheese balls, turkey, green bean casserole, pie and, of course, a good beer to wash it all down. That being said, you should put some thought into the beer selection you make.

There are a few things to take into consideration when picking out your beverage for the day, keeping in mind when you’ll be having it and what you will be eating. Your favorite beer might be a stout, but drinking something dark and heavy early in the day will fill you up quickly, leaving no room for all the fixins’ you thought about for the last week. Instead, stick with something light, like a lager or pilsner, until it’s time to enjoy your big meal.

When choosing a beer to have with dinner, you can go in a variety of directions. Sticking with the light beer you’ve already been drinking will allow you to taste all the flavors that are on your plate. Another option is a darker, malty beer that will allow the flavors to complement one another. If you are skipping the bird and having ham instead, it’s suggested that you pair it with a wheat beer, or “Weizen” as the Germans call it. And if you’re thinking about picking up an IPA, DON’T. The extra hops can take away all the rich flavors you’re expecting to have in the perfect bite you have on your fork.

After dinner is over and you’re ready for dessert, bring out those dark, heavy beers that you enjoy so much. The sweet, spiced or fruity beers pair perfectly with many of the desserts you may find on the table. A chocolate stout or a sour beer might bring out a few extra flavors in the pie mom made! Or maybe this year that pumpkin ale you’ve been dying to try will take the place of that piece of pie that you always have!

And if you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the day without stepping foot in the kitchen, you should be extra thankful!

Lagers/Pilsners: Coors Brewing “Coors Banquet”, Bards Brewing “Bards (gluten free)”, or Flying Dog Brewery “UnderDog Atlantic Lager”

Ales: Big Sky Brewing “Moose Drool Brown Ale”, or Anchor Brewing “Brekle’s Brown”

Wheat/Weizen: New Belgium Brewing “Sunshine Wheat”, or Boulder Beer “Sweaty Betty Blonde”

Stouts: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “Stout”, Lagunitas Brewing Company “Cappuccino Stout”, or Alaskan Brewing Company “Stout (oatmeal)”

Pumpkin Ale: Coors Brewing “Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale”, or Tommyknocker “Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale”