Dave Richmond has combined his work with his love of beer for more than eight years with the Madrigrano families, and is now Global Brands Manager at Beer Capitol Distributing-Lake Country in Sussex. In his position, Dave is responsible for coordinating the marketing and merchandising programs for all the Global brands. The beer products featured in his blog are primarily those distributed but not limited to by Beer Capitol Distributing Lake Country.
While parades, corned beef and cabbage, and lucky four leafed clovers are what typically come to mind this time of year, St. Patrick's Day celebrations would not be complete without delicious stout beer.
That said, there are many stouts available that you may have not yet tried. And next Monday, the 17th is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and try something new and unique.
But before I get into the details on some of the great stouts out there and an idea for hosting a stout-tasting party, let me explain a bit of the story behind stouts.
History of Stout
Stout is a relatively young style of beer. It was first introduced to the in the 1700s, as an “extra stout” version of a porter beer. The name “stout” referred to the fact that this beer was a little more assertive than the regular porter. The foamy head characteristic of a stout is the result of the centuries old brewing process. And, while the dark color might be deceiving, stouts are actually light in taste and texture and are often on the lighter side in alcohol content as well.
There are multitudes of stout styles; the most popular are Irish in origin, like Murphy’s Irish Stout, and boast a coffee-like, or ‘toasted’ flavor. With a great deal of innovation and originality, American brewers have taken this style to a new level. Whether it's adding coffee, chocolate or even oatmeal to compliment the roasted flavors, American stouts will not disappoint die-hard Irish stout enthusiasts.
With American stouts, the hop bitterness range is quite wide but most are balanced. Beers with robust flavors like the creamy and malty Sierra Nevada Stout, the dark and rich Bell's Expedition Stout or the tart and slightly fruity Cherry Stout (also from Bell's) are great examples of American-made brews that have earned a solid standing with stout connoisseurs.
Host a Stout Tasting
This St. Patrick’s Day, host a stout tasting. Gather some friends and some different types of stouts. With Lakefront's Snake Chaser; try to identify flavors of toffee and coffee aromas. When tasting the Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout, look for the distinct flavors of chocolate, coffee, and, of course, oatmeal. As expected, Bell's Java Stout will have a smooth, velvety coffee flavor. Note the different aromas that are infused into these American brews, and maybe contrast their flavors with that of traditional Beamish Irish Stout, for example. Take small sips and cleanse the palate in between tastes with crackers, or different types of fruit and sips of water.
And lastly, remember to drink responsibly wherever you end up this St. Patrick's Day.