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Craft Beer Experts Share The One Stout They’d Drink Forever

If we’re being honest, any time is a good time to stock up on bolder, darker beers. While there are certainly darker beer styles well-suited for cool (and downright cold) weather, today we’re turning our attention to a beer that transcends any season or weather pattern. The stout.

Since there are stouts for all seasons — featuring varying levels of darkness, spiciness, fruitiness, hoppiness and so much more — we’re not going to limit ourselves. We’ll be calling out dry stouts, imperial stouts, barrel-aged stouts, and everything in between.

To find the best of the best, the stouts that beer pros would be thrilled to drink from now until the day they die, we asked a handful of well-known brewers and brewery professionals to tell us their go-to stouts. These are “desert island” stouts — beers that you never grow tired of. Keep scrolling to see all of their selections and click on those prices if you want to try one too.

Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout

Odell

Jamie Lee Gonzalez, brewer at Living The Dream Brewing Co. in Littleton, Colorado

ABV: 8.5%

Average Price: $14 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

My favorite stout is the Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout from Odell. This beer is the perfect bottle to grab after a long day. It’s super smooth and sneaky! The artwork on the label is also adorable.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Brewing

Patrick Chavanelle, research and development brewer at Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine

ABV: 8.3%

Average Price: $11 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Coffee is one of my favorite ingredients used in beer. Similar to hops, the characteristics of coffee can vary drastically from bean to bean, based on where it’s grown, how it’s processed, and how it’s roasted. All of these variables need to be considered when integrating coffee into a beer recipe. Somehow the folks at Founders were able to find the perfect coffee-to-beer combination in Founders Breakfast Stout.

This beer reminds me of camping and roasting marshmallows over a fire. It pairs perfectly with a campfire brunch or a nightcap after a long day of hiking. It’s just so damn good.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Goose Island

Todd Bellmyer, head brewer at Wynkoop Brewing in Denver

ABV: 12.9%

Average Price: $14 for a 16.9-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island Brewing Co. is one of the most unique beer releases each year. The release date — only in select stores across the country — has been Black Friday for many years now. That means that while so many people are shopping for TVs, I’m standing in line outside a liquor store hoping to score one of the many variants they release each year.

It’s a high ABV stout with great complex flavors without being cloying.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn

Todd DiMatteo, owner and brewer Good Word Brewing in Duluth, Georgia

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $10 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout checks this box big time. This ten percent stout is in a league of its own. I remember waiting impatiently at times of the seasonal release of this beer and when my pub would have it on draft. This beer has bitter chocolate, is rounded and decadent, and balanced in ways a stout should be.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Brewing

Molly Lamb, host of Brewvana’s Brews Less Traveled Beer Club and Podcast

ABV: 12%

Average Price: $22 for a 750ml bottle

Why This Beer?

One stout that I look forward to drinking in the fall is the Founders KBS Stout. It has big flavors of coffee and cocoa with a little vanilla. It has a smooth and silky mouthfeel and a big 12 perent ABV. Mouthfeel is important in all beers, especially in a stout.

I gravitate toward this style (and this particular beer) because of the physical attributes it has; low carbonation and a delightful, pleasing viscosity that makes the Founders KBS Stout feel truly decadent.

Fremont Dark Star

Fremont

Brandon Capps, owner and head brewer of New Image Brewing in Arvada, Colorado

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $14 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Fremont’s Dark Star is an imperial oatmeal stout packed with dark, roasty, chocolate flavors, and a firm bitterness yet a smooth experience all at once. It’s very easy to find, affordable, and just drinkable enough to have two glasses. That’s something I can’t say about many stouts, even some lower ABV offerings.

Great Divide Yeti

Great Divide

Dave Bergen, co-founder, director of brewing and marketing at Joyride Brewing Company in Edgewater, Colorado

ABV: 9.5%

Average Price: $14 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m a big Yeti fan, and there’s a reason why this Great Divide flagship has been around as long as it has. Yeti is everything an American imperial stout is supposed to be: Big, brash, roasty, and bitter.

I enjoy all the different iterations of the Yeti clan, but I always come back to the OG.

North Coast Old Rasputin

North Coast

Chris Takeuchi, research and development brewer at Ballast Point’s Little Italy brewpub in San Diego

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $11 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Company is a powerhouse of a Russian imperial stout. It’s incredibly flavorful and complex with the big, brash roastiness the style calls for. It’s a huge beer, and it’s hard not to have two.

Firestone Walker Parabola

Firestone Walker

Skip Schwartz, innovation and wood cellar lead at WeldWerks Brewing Co. in Greeley, Colorado

ABV: 14%

Average Price: $18 for a 22-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

To me, it is still one of the best barrel-aged stouts that are widely available. This beer is also a huge reason for my obsession with barrel-aged beers. I love the roasted coffee flavors with a huge oak profile. Nothing speaks to me more than a great barrel-aged stout and Parabola, year-after-year, is one of the best.

Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Deschutes

Samuel Richardson, co-founder and brewmaster at Other Half Brewing Co in Brooklyn, New York

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Obsidian is just a great stout from the earlier days of craft beer. It’s classic and drinkable with great roasted flavors that are balanced. This beer is also very nostalgic for me and I’m sure a lot of other early craft beer adopters, especially those of us who grew up in Oregon.

Left Hand Nitro Stout

Left Hand

Colby Cox, co-founder of Roadhouse Brewing Co in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Left Hand Nitro Stout is a go-to for me year-round, but there’s something even more enjoyable about its roasted aromas, rich flavors, and creamy mouthfeel once there’s a chill in the air. While Left Hand’s pushed their series of stouts into a wide breadth of flavor combinations, it’s their original Milk Stout I first fell for, keep coming back to, and always pour hard.

Stone Xocoveza Stout

Stone Brewing

David “Zambo” Szamborski, brewmaster at Paperback Brewing in Glendale, California

ABV: 8.1%

Average Price: $16 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I am a big fan of Xocoveza Stout from Stone. This stout — originally created by Mitch Steele, their former brewmaster — is a take on Mexican hot chocolate. It includes cacao nibs, coffee, papilla peppers, and a few spices as well as lactose to keep it sweet like chocolate. Yummy.


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