Our Fifth of seven posts in honor of Tacoma Drinks WA Beer Week hosted by The Red Hot and The Parkway Tavern
Stouts are the vegetable soup of the beer kingdom: you throw a ton of crap in the kettle and out pops something that is usually delicious. The more stuff, the better. For this WA Beer Week offering I take a closer look at the Black Frog Oatmeal Stout from Snoqualmie Brewery, had on NITRO at The Red Hot.
A Shout Out for Stouts
Stouts get a bad wrap. Non-beer drinkers whine about the strong taste, health fanatics whine about the caloric content, and beer geeks whine about the lack of finesse it takes for a brewer to churn out a good one. I must admit that I at one point in my life fell into category #1, but in hindsight it was probably a bad idea to begin my drinking career with a six pack of Obsidian Stout, which at the time tasted like essence of ass. The worst part was the intended effect of said beer – inebriation – was surprisingly elusive. This was because I, like many novice drinkers, thought dark = high alcohol content. Nothing seemed darker than Obsidian! I was gonna get loaded! Not so.
Surprisingly, stouts are actually relatively low in alcohol content, because the base malts that get converted into alcohol are roughly the same as a pale ale; It’s the specialty grains that make the stout pitch black, which apparently contain non-fermentable sugars. (Thank you brewbeeranddrinkit.com!) These specialty grains contain a ton of flavor and sugars, resulting in thick, tasty, dark ass beer with a lower ABV than you’d think. Obsidian Stout ranks right around 5.9% ABV – about the same as Busch Ice, the beer overwhelmingly preferred by any discerning WSU frat member, but considered gross by the rest of the world.
Snoqualmie Black Frog Stout (NITRO)
Now that college has vanished entirely in that rearview mirror, drunkenness is more of an annoying side effect than a goal. I’ll never use that goddamn spittoon at a wine tasting though. That is a level of douchiness I don’t ever want to attain. I love all categories of beer, but I’ll always have a place in my fridge for a great stout. My favorite stouts are creamy and full of chocolate and espresso with enough hops to keep things interesting. The Black Frog is all these things: light espresso with an excellent creaminess brought on by the nitro, and 28IBU worth of hops. The beer is never bitter or astringent like Guinness – the Gold Standard of Irish stouts – can sometimes be. This beer is so drinkable the glass goes down as quickly as most pales on the board and will nicely accompany any dog on the Red Hot menu.
A fairly frequent flyer in town, Snoqualmie beers are not hard to find. The Black Frog stout and Steam Train Porter are both worthwhile buys. Look for them next time you’re in the mood for something dark, just remember what GCF taught you:
- dark = flavor
- dark = calories
dark = drunkenness
- Busch Ice = nasty*