This week’s Canada’s Craft Beer post comes from our West Coast craft beer guy, Bryan Clegg. Bryan loves winter: the snow, the cold and the fact that it's stout season! Today he takes us to four breweries to get the goods on stout: Moody Ales, Powell Street, Mission Springs and Dead Frog.
It’s winter. That means cold and snow. Well, not in Vancouver, here it just means rain. But pretty much everywhere else in Canada winter means cold and snow. And me? I’m a prairie boy. I love snow, and I love far below zero temperatures. I still have (kinda) fond memories of pulling my eyes open when they froze shut on the way to school. Winter is awesome. Not just since the super fresh air is liable to freeze the blood in your veins, but also, coming inside means sitting down by a fire with a big heavy beer. Because winter is stout season. And stout season is winter.
People often ask what the difference is between stouts and porters, and that’s a pretty fair question. They’re both made with dark malts, and often share flavour profile characteristics. In reality, stout was originally a reference to the strongest (or stoutest) type of porter. So an easy rule of thumb for stouts is to imagine a porter that’s been kicked up a notch.
That said, nowadays there are many different sub-styles of stout, including the Darth Vader of dark beers (and home to some of my all-time favourites), the Russian Imperial Stout. Sadly, I don’t have any Russian Imperial Stouts for you this month, dear readers. However, I have a nice selection of Stout Stouts for the Stout. So let’s take a look.
Moody Ales — Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
This Oatmeal Stout from Moody Ales has a fairly light aroma, with some hint of chocolate and roast. The flavour profile came out fairly middle-of-the-road for me, with a bit of chocolate, a bit of cocoa and just a tad of sweetness. Pretty easy drinker that doesn’t offend.
ABV: 5.8% | Available: BC
Powell Street — Enigma Strong Stout
Powell Street’s Enigma Stout, at 55, has the highest IBU of the group by far. This gives it a bitter, roasted coffee flavour that surprises you with its potency considering the comparatively light nose. There are hints of dark chocolate and biscuit in there, but my palate had a hard time getting past the bitter roast.
ABV: 6% | Available: BC
Mission Springs — Spirit Bear Spiced Chocolate Imperial Stout
The strongest of the group by alcohol content, Mission Springs comes in with a stout loaded with spice, chocolate and roasted malts on the nose, but mostly spice and roasted malts in the flavour. The chocolate is there, but I was hoping for it to come out a bit more than it did. Overall, I still enjoyed this beer. I’m just hoping the next edition can balance the spice/chocolate levels a little better.
ABV: 8% | Available: BC
Dead Frog — Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout
True to form, Dead Frog gives us the most interesting beer of the group. Nutty Uncle is more of a sweet stout, with a chocolate and peanut butter nose that promises Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-style flavours. With that expectation in mind, the taste doesn’t disappoint. Milk chocolate, creamy peanut butter, sweetness, and a bit of roasted cocoa round this out. For me, this one was the most fun to drink this month.
ABV: 6.1% | Available: BC
Check out all our Canada’s Craft Beer articles.
Bryan Clegg is the beer columnist for VanFoodies.com. Bryan has a wide and accommodating palate; whether it’s a tasty low-IBU ale or a ride on the IBU train to Hop Country, he’s happy to drink and share a story about the ride. Follow @vanfoodies on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.