February is National Stout Month, naturally I have been making the rounds at Binny’s and other local liquor stores picking up a variety of stouts in order to celebrate the occasion. During the cold, dark, snowy, wintry weather in Chicago, nothing hits the spot more than a stout. Brewers across the country are continuing to become creative with their stouts and adding in different ingredients with much success. I have narrowed down all of the winter warmers that I have “sampled” down to a 4 pack of my favorites from the past month.
Mikerphone Brewing: Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit (10% ABV)
One of the flagship beers of Mikerphone Brewing is the Smells Like Bean Spirit stout. Brewed with maple syrup and coffee beans from Tugboat Coffee, Mikerphone is always releasing different varieties of SLBS. I even wrote a blog about one of the varieties last year, which you can check out here. Regardless of the different twists Mikerphone makes to this stout, it is always a home run. This particular variety cranks up the ABV to 10 percent and is appropriately titled as an Imperial Stout. The notes of maple syrup and coffee are perfect for your Sunday Funday rituals.
Mikerphone has setup a GoFundMe for Twisted Hippo, so please share the tweet below and donate if you can:
Oddside Ales: Rye Hipster Brunch Stout (12% ABV)
Based out of Grand Haven, Michigan, Oddside brings the heat with this stout. Another stout of the breakfast variety that is similar to the Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit, it was a no brainer to add this to my 4 pack. Oddside adds bacon into this stout to go along with the maple and coffee. Yes…bacon…who doesn’t like bacon? You can definitely taste the bacon flavor in this beer and it really is a phenomenal addition. Additionally, having this aged in rye whiskey barrels makes for a delicious treat.
Off Color Brewing: Coffee Dino S’mores (9.5% ABV)
Adding coffee to stouts is extremely popular and something that I fully support. Off Color takes their Dino S’mores stout recipe and throws in Dark Matter Coffee, to make this even more addicting. Do you like s’mores? Do you like coffee? Do you like sitting around a fire? If you answered yes to all of the above, you might just discover your new favorite beer in Coffee Dino S’mores. This beer makes you want s’more and s’more and s’more!
Bell’s Brewery: Larry’s Last Imperial Oatmeal Stout (10% ABV)
Batting cleanup on my 4 pack is the final installment from legendary brewery and founder of Bell’s Brewery, Larry Bell. As I mentioned in a previous blog, Larry Bell retired at the end of 2021 and sold the brewery to new owners. However, before retirement, Larry had one last trick up his sleeve. This oatmeal stout is one of the best stouts that I have ever had. A perfect tribute to his namesake brewery, Larry even writes a brief thank you message on the label to his supporters for the past 35 years. Get this stout before it is gone, because it might just be Larry’s best brew. If Larry ever reads this, I just want to personally say, Thank You, Larry!!!!
While that might be my personal 4 pack, I have to briefly mention a few of the other stouts I’ve enjoyed throughout this month.
Right Brain Brewing: CEO Stout (5.5% ABV)
Stumbled across this beer while up in Michigan, brewed in Traverse City. Hits the spot.