Must try beers: International Stout Day 2019

The origin of beer-style celebration days is usually a mystery. We can safely assume that just as someone created Executive Assistants’ Day to sell cards and flowers, someone invented International Stout Day to sell beer. But there’s no style I’d rather celebrate.
S’Kettin’ Dark (American stout)
Good Robot Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing
Halifax/Portland, Me.
This collab has lasted much longer on tap at Good Robot than I thought it would, so go get one while you can. The brewers deem it a summer-strength stout, meaning in the 5% range. What you’ll find is a complex beer highlighting roast flavours and subtle hints of blueberry and cranberry. Think Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut in a glass.
Moonlight Kettle Series: Ghost Out (white stout)
Muskoka Brewery
Bracebridge, Ont.
Read the name of this beer as one word and you’ll get the joke. Faction Brewing in Alameda, Ca. claims to be the brewer of the first white stout in 2010. Despite its golden colour, the style retains much of the toasty character stout lovers prize. This offering features notes of roasted coffee and caramel with coco aroma, and finishes with bittersweet chocolate. Find it at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront.
Rasputin (imperial stout)
Brouwerij de Molen
Bodegraven, Netherlands
Brace yourself. This 330-ml bottle will set you back $10 if you’re lucky enough to find one on the shelf at Bishop’s Cellar. Chocolate, coffee and plums are the dominant flavours but it works. At just over 10%, you’ll notice a warming sensation as you drink. Sip slow for the best results.  Grab several bottles; this beer is ideal for cellaring.
Flat Black Jesus
Unfiltered Brewing
Unfiltered is well known for its hop-bomb IPAs, but this stout is one of the finest in the city. Rich and smooth, it’s like drinking a chocolatey velvet painting that’s liberally sprinkled with piney hops. Find it on tap at the brewery or adjacent pub.
Cereal Killer (oatmeal stout)
Big Spruce Brewing Co.
Nyanza, N.S.
Moderately dry and deeply chocolatey are the first things you’ll notice about this offering. It’s quickly followed by a hit of coffee and a wee dab of liquorice. When I asked Halifax beer fans on Twitter to name their favourite stout, this was the the overwhelming response. Just about any place that sells local beer has it.
Mocha Oatmeal Stout
Propeller Brewing Co.
This seasonal features a healthy dose of Java Blend coffee to add to the richness. On Nov. 7 (starting at 11 a.m.), Propeller hosts a tap takeover at Battery Park Beer Bar and Eatery in Dartmouth, where you’ll find  a single keg this beer on a nitro tap. Tapping beers with nitrogen (technically a mix of 30% CO2 and 70% nitrogen) introduces smaller, more profuse bubbles to lend the beer a silkier texture and amped up aroma. Otherwise watch for its return in January.
Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout
A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery
Roasted malt is the predominant flavour in this offering from Keith’s small-batch program. It offers an early hit of smoke and vanilla, then lighter favours of cacao nibs and Laughing Whale Coffee from Lunenburg (hence the name). It took home silver in the coffee beer category at the 2018 North American Brewing Awards. Find it at NSLC.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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