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Staff Picks: Colorado’s Best Stouts

Colorado's Best Stouts
Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

Much to the dismay of Colorado’s powder hounds, its taken a little longer than expected for the Centennial State to feel full effects of winter this season. However, as we’ve inched toward February (Colorado’s official Stout Month thanks to the Mountain Sun Breweries), temperatures have dropped, and it’s finally time to embrace the bounty of prolific dark and roasty stouts this state has to offer. As we look back on all of the tremendous beers consumed in 2017, our staff took some time to share their picks for Colorado’s best stouts from the past year.

In order to best differentiate the wide breadth in this style category, we further divided stouts into base stouts, which includes Milk Stouts, Oatmeal Stouts, Foreign Export Stouts, etc. From there we also created separate categories for Coffee Stouts, Barrel-Aged Stouts, Stout variants, which can include the likes of coconut, peanut butter, cocoa, cinnamon, etc., and Barrel-Aged Stout variants. Also note that while sometimes multiple versions may exist for the same beer, for simplicity we decided to choose our picks for the best representation of that brand to fall under one category.

Base Stout

River North Brewery Mr. Sandman
River North Brewery Mr. Sandman

While not as flash-y and buzzed about as your big barrel-aged, adjunct forward stouts on the market, traditionalists, and in many cases industry folk typically prefer to sidle up to a well-balanced approachable, but still naturally roasty base stout. From low ABV foreign export stouts, to milk stouts, and oatmeal stouts, there’s still a thriving niche for the OG sub-styles. And while they’re typically better known for their work in wild and sour styles, TRVE’s Stout O))), which is only available occasionally on draft, still takes top honors in our book. A few other notable standouts include River North’s Mr. Sandman, Cerebral’s Dark Galaxie, Hogshead’s Export Stout, and Finkel & Garf’s Oatmeal Stout.

Colorado Base Stouts Worth Checking Out

  • TRVE Brewing – Stout O)))
  • Oskar Blues Brewery – Ten Fidy
  • Left Hand Brewing – Milk Stout
  • Great Divide Brewing – Yeti
  • Comrade Brewing – Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout
  • Left Hand Brewing – Fade To Black, Vol. 1
  • River North Brewery – Mr. Sandman
  • Odell Brewing – Lugene
  • Boulder Beer – Shake
  • Baere Brewing – Stout
  • Spangalang Brewing – Night Walker
  • Avery Brewing – Out of Bounds
  • Hogshead Brewery – Export Stout
  • Cerebral Brewing – Dark Galaxie
  • Finkel & Garf Brewing – Oatmeal Stout
  • City Star Brewing – Night Watchman
  • Left Hand Brewing –  Nitro Stout

 

Coffee Stout

mountain sun stout month

Top honors in this category happens to also be one of the most underrated beers at its brewery. While Cerebral has received much fan-fare for Here be Monsters, Safe Word, and Trophy Hunt, Peace be the Journey, their collaboration with Horus Aged Ales contends as the Congress Park brewery’s best offering. Aged on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee roasted with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, PBTJ showcases a tremendous depth and layered flavors of roasty bitterness, caramel, rich chocolate and rounded out with a tinge of sweetness. Mountain Sun’s family of breweries also come up strong in this category with Addition (formerly known as Addiction), and Moloko, which shouldn’t come as any surprise, as the hosts of the yearly cult favorite Stout Month each February. That said, Avery, who’s known for big beastly beers, also throws it’s weight around with its 17.5% Tweak (formerly Meph Addict), who’s coffee profile roasted from nearby Ozo Coffee brings a prominent enough profile to the table to temper the booziness soaked up by the bourbon barrels.

Colorado Coffee Stouts Worth Checking Out

  • Cerebral Brewing – Peace be the Journey
  • Avery Brewing – Tweak
  • Broken Compass Brewing – Chocolate Coffee Stout
  • Fiction Brewing – BBA Malice and Darkness
  • Mountain Sun Brewery – Addition Coffee Stout
  • Mountain Sun Brewery – Moloko Plus Coffee Cream Stout
  • New Image Brewing – Melanoidin Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Stout
  • Cerebral Brewing – Dark Energie

Stout Variant

Powder Keg Breakfast at Que's

Much like the aforementioned PBTJ, while WeldWerks receives a great deal of recognition from its Medianoche and Achromatic series, their Coffee Coconut Stout is often the forgotten stepchild, that should be garnering more attention and respect (it’s the Harry Potter of WeldWerks beers). While coffee is a prevalent profile, coconut truly wins the day in this one, which is why we kept this in the Stout Variant category. Similarly, Powder Keg’s Breakfast @ Que’s, an Imperial Stout with vanilla coffee, and maple syrup could fit in the coffee category, but the well-balanced sweetness of the vanilla and maple syrup serve as the driving backbone to this perfect way to kick off an early day of drinking.

Colorado Variant Stouts Worth Checking Out

  • Powder Keg Brewing – Breakfast at Que’s Supervoid
  • WeldWerks Brewing – Coffee Coconut Stout
  • Powder Keg Brewing – Coconut Telegraph
  • Cerebral Brewing – Safe Word
  • Oskar Blues – Rum Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy
  • WeldWerks Brewing – Mexican Achromatic
  • Wiley Roots Brewing – Cinnamonstah
  • Copper Kettle – Mexican Chocolate Stout
  • Mountain Sun Brewing – Girl Scout Stout
  • 4 Noses Brewing – El Jefe
  • 4 Noses Brewing – Cinnamon Stout Crunch
  • Ursula Brewing – Colorado Buckeye Imperial Stout
  • Avery Brewing – Vanilla Bean Stout
  • Renegade Brewing – Depravity Peanut Butter Cup Stout
  • Fiction Brewing – Feely Effects Green Tea Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Cannonball Creek – Chocolate Almond Stout

 

Barrel-Aged Stout

cerebral here be monsters bottles
Photo Courtesy of Cerebral Brewing’s Facebook

 

If the name Cerebral Brewing is starting to look familiar, it’s because over the past year and a half, Sean Buchan and the Cerebral team have strung together a series of some of the most impressive stouts to come out of the Centennial State. In a category replete with heavy hitters, Here be Monsters rises among the best. Similarly, River North Brewery has assembled their own arsenal of big boozy stouts, all of which have also risen to elite level status. From Mr. Sandman fo Fancy Effin’ Stout, their Vicennial Shadowman ringing in at 15.7% and Whiskey Barrel-Aged Nightmare Fuel, which places among the best in the Barrel-Aged Stout category.

  • Cerebral Brewing – Here be Monsters
  • Crooked Stave Artisan Ales – Stout Month Private Reserve Imperial Stout
  • Powder Keg Brewing – Twilight Rendezvous
  • Powder Keg Brewing – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Supervoid
  • Baere Brewing – Black Rye Day
  • Verboten Brewing – Islay Scotch Little Nonsense
  • Ratio Beerworks – Genius Wizard
  • Bull and Bush – The Legend of Liquid Brain
  • AC Golden – Ctayt
  • Avery Brewing – Uncle Jacob’s
  • River North Brewery – BA Shadowman
  • 4 Noses Brewing – Ryeciprocal
  • Our Mutual Friend Brewery – Thanatoid
  • Wiley Roots Brewing – Something Came in the Mail for You
  • Station 26 Brewing – Dark Star
  • Great Divide Brewing – Oak Aged Yeti

Barrel-Aged Stout Variant

Photo by Chris Hollands and Sylvia Galvan Hollands

Perhaps the kitchen sink of categories, these stouts employ anything from vanilla to coffee, cocoa to coconut, and then they’re thrown in a barrel to soak up all of those rich boozy flavors. We may be a little biased, but the combination of coconut with decadent vanilla caramel flavors brought on from barrel-aging led to our choices of WeldWerks Medianoche Reserve and Epic Brewing’s Triple Barrel Baptist as the true standouts in the field. Reserve which was released just prior to GABF, utilized a combination of freshly toasted coconut, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cacao nibs before aging in both Breckenridge Bourbon and Woodford Reserve barrels. While some bottles experienced cases of infection, the multiple tastings we encountered during the week of its release were absolutely phenomenal. As for Epic Brewing’s Triple Barrel Baptist, perhaps one of the most underrated beers of the year, actually featured coconut and Columbian coffee beans aged in fresh bourbon barrels, which was then blended with their Big Bad Baptist that was aged in rum barrels and whiskey barrels. The result is something truly beautiful and layered in rich sweet barrel-forward flavors.

  • WeldWerks Brewing – Medianoche Reserve 
  • Epic Brewing – Triple Barrel Baptist
  • Copper Kettle Brewing – Snowed In
  • River North Brewery – BA Avarice
  • River North Brewery – Whiskey Barrel-Aged Nightmare Fuel
  • Avery Brewing – Callipygian
  • Wiley Roots Brewing – Something Came in the Mail For You Coconut
  • Station 26 – Dark Star Almond Joy

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