Most novice beer drinkers looking to indulge their curiosity in the world of dark beer are quite often surprised at their findings.
Misconceptions derived from the act of “drinking with your eyes” often results in individuals assuming stouts are rich, thick and heavy. Quite the opposite is true. Many great stouts are complex and low in alcohol with beautiful roundness and a touch of roast. The dry versions are appetizing and quenching, while the sweeter styles are silky and well-rounded, perfect for an evening of food and drink.
No other beer has quite the connection with one specific country as stouts. When one thinks of them, they are instantly transported to Ireland and often think of Guinness. Being the most famous brewing family in Ireland, and arguably the world, the Guinness family has been brewing beer since the late 18th century. The family brewed various strength porters and used the term “stout” to describe the stronger versions, eventually changing their style descriptor from Extra Stout Porter to simply Extra Stout.
The most distinguishing characteristic of a stout is its deep black color which is derived from various roasted and heavily kilned barley malts. These powerful ingredients contribute both to the color, flavor, and texture, imparting bitter chocolate, espresso, and often a drying sensation.
The dispensing method of stouts has changed over the years. Traditionally served out of room temperature casks, then dispensed using more modern carbon dioxide, in recent years craft brewers have begun to offer Nitrogen versions of their stouts. Being a smaller bubble than carbon dioxide and utilizing a special pour faucet, the nitrogen delivers a smooth creamy texture complementing either dry or sweet mouth feel. Nitrogen stouts deliver a beautiful show of cascading gasses delicately settle into a creamy tan head, mesmerizing the onlooking individual.