Anyone who reads this bloglet for longer than a post or two knows that I am a Stout Guy – in both senses of that word. I’m the jackass sitting on the outdoor deck at Full Sail, drinking an Imperial Stout in 100-degree weather…and loving it.
I’ve never grasped the thing of drinking light, insubstantial beers in summer. To me, Stouts are quite refreshing, even if they are not – my recent experience at a small brewery in Astoria, OR, to the contrary – properly served so cold that nearby Coors cans become confused and turn blue. On my birthday weekend, during what passes for blazing heat in Washington (it was 82 degrees), I sat blissfully on my patio and sipped a 2011 bottle of The Abyss. Can’t even imagine a better beer for the weather.
So, with that knowledge in mind, better than 100 readers have contacted me in the past and asked what my favorite Stout would be. I’ve ducked this, frankly, because there is no one answer. On most of the given days, The Abyss would be IT, with a capital both letters. Some days, it would be Parabola or Hunahpu’s or Cavatica or Serpent’s Stout or the current under-the-radar miracle, River North Brewing’s “Avarice”. They are miles from being identical. But, as I’ve said repeatedly, when you ask (enough times), I answer…
I’m still ducking, to be honest. Instead, I’m tossing it back to you. Below is a list of the nation’s best Stouts. I haven’t sub-divided them into basic vs. Imperial/Double, mainly because a shocking number of people don’t get the difference. I also kept it to the baseline: Great Divide “Yeti” comes in – I think, at last count – about a dozen variations. We’re not separating the variations out because they all proceed from the base beer and you cannot take a bad Stout (or anything else) and make it great by sticking it in a whiskey barrel or dumping in coffee grounds. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still Walkin’ Bacon.
I did not, as opposed to the first list posted here, allow for write-ins. I sourced this list from all of the beer rating sites I could find, my own tastings, and the massive response to all of them. I tried to be complete, so this is what you have to vote on. If you believe passionately that I missed one, post a comment, so that everybody can read it and maybe try it. If you’re conflicted, vote for a couple. The poll is set up for multiple votes. (I’m not voting because I’d have to vote for all of ’em.) Only a percentage of this blog is written by me. Comments frequently contain information just as good as you read in my scribblings.
So, here we go…America’s Best Stout. Let’s Git Bizzy and find it!