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The Beer Circle » Tastings » 2011 Winter Stout Fest

2011 Winter Stout Fest

Back in the fall of 2010 I had the idea to get some friends and fellow Stout fiends together to share and enjoy the wide gamut of flavors and aromas that stouts have to offer.

The 2010 Stout Fest was held at Whole Foods in Vienna, VA. Jason, their beer buyer, was the host for the event and set up the beer menu, which also included an Old Ale and Barleywine. Jason talked about each of the beers and their nuances before serving. The information was great but we had to stay “in control” since we were in their eatery.

  • Allagash Black
  • Bell’s Double Cream Stout
  • Founder’s Breakfast Stout
  • Founder’s Old Curmudgeon
  • Founder’s Porter
  • Oskar  Blues Ten Fidy
  • Southern Tier Oat Stout
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2009)
  • Victory Old Horizontal

The event was great but I wanted something more. For the 2011 edition I worked to find a good restaurant to have the Stout Fest at which would allow us to bring our own beer. A month before the plans I made were cancelled by the restaurant. Stout Fest was held in my basement  which gave a lot of leeway and made things much cheaper.

Food included wings and my homemade super spicy chili. There was also chocolate nibs to cleanse your palate if needed.

Beers: (there were also a couple of homebrews, too)

  • Anderson Valley – Barney Flats
  • Cigar City – Marshall Zhukov
  • De Molen – Disputin
  • Duck Rabbit – Milk Stout
  • Firestone Walker – Abacus
  • Hoppin Frog – Barrel-Aged BORIS
  • Left Hand – Milk Stout
  • Nogne O – Imperial Stout
  • Old Hickory – Hickory Stick
  • Ridgeway – Bad Elf
      • Very Bad Elf
      • Seriously Bad Elf
      • Criminally Bad Elf
      • Insanely Bad Elf
      • Santa’s Butt
  • Russian River – Pliny the Elder (I had one bottle left and had to share the goodness!)

I had provided printed tasting notes for each of the stouts & Barley wines and then kicked things off with an overview of the day. There was no set order for the beers though in retrospect  Disputin was very sweet and we shouldn’t have followed it with the bitter Marshall Zhukov. The free flowing nature of the day enabled everyone to relax and move around the beers as they felt like it. Not that it was raucous but it was much more free flowing and fun. We were able to talk and joke without fearing that we would offend anyone.

My favorite? I have to exclude Pliny since it wasn’t a stout. I would have to say that the Barrel-Aged BORIS was my favorite followed closely by De Molen’s Disputin. I’ve seent BA BORIS still for sale in local stores (Virginia) and Disputin is available at wineandcheeseplace.com .

I’ve had most of the beers previously but the Nogne O stout, while a good solid stout, was greatly overshadowed by the heavy hitters: BORIS, Disputin, Abacus, and Zhukov.

It was interesting contrasting the Duck Rabbit and Left Hand milk stouts. I thought the Left Hand was vastly superior…but it all comes down to taste.

One of the people at the tastings looked like Zach Galifianakis. What made me think even more about Zach in The Hangover was that he had his baby son in a front carrier. At least he didn’t do anything rude with the baby like in the movie!

Next year’s stout fest will definitely be at my place again.

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Written by Bob Pack

Simply put, Bob is a beer lover. He goes out of his way to try new beers whenever he can find them. The love of trying new beers had resulted in a beer label collection of over 1400. When it comes down to it, Bob is a hop head. He loves IPAs (including double and black). Stouts are a close second. His tweet reviews on @nova_beer are simple and approachable. Let him know what you think. Find Bob Pack on Google Plus

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