I have a confession to make. I’ve never been a frequent stout drinker. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good stout, but I tend to prefer IPAs and lagers. However, this is all about to change.
During Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers I headed over to my corner bodega for a brew and what did my eyes descend upon? Mendocino Brewing Company (California) BLACK HAWK STOUT. Call it coincidence, call it fate, but with my love of all things Chicago, I knew that this beer must be acquired on this night. And fate it was, as the Blackhawks took the game and the Stanley Cup. I savored the beer over the course of the game, appreciating the rich array of flavors.
One of the original brews from the August 1983 Grand Opening, Black Hawk Stout was designed from its inception to be a brew that maintains the big traditional flavors of an Irish-style stout while providing a refreshingly dry crispness uncharacteristic of many dark beers.
The specialty malt known as Black Patent is combined with Pale and Caramel malt in the mash to provide a contrast in flavors – On the one hand, rich and malty and on the other, dry and crisp. A third dimension is added in the kettle when whole Cascade and Cluster hops are boiled with the wort to provide a subtle hoppy finish. During fermentation, our special proprietary yeast along with the malt imparts a signature dryness characteristic of our ales. Black Hawk Stout is creamy and smooth with a long dry finish. Black Hawk Stout, with 5.2% alcohol by volume, is full of rich, roasted malt flavor.
Today, there are myriad types of stouts, with many bold flavors and characteristics – Bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, dry, or heavy, to name a few. At the Mendocino Brewing Company, however, the intent was to create a Stout that did not overpower the palate. Rather, Black Hawk Stout, for all of its body and flavor, exhibits a subtlety that quite often surprises and converts even the most reticent stout drinker.
We recommend Black Hawk Stout as an accompaniment to a wide variety of foods, from fresh or cooked shellfish (especially oysters), to rich desserts and chocolates.
My new adventures in the world of stouts were furthered when I recently learned of a new project by some fellow beer-loving ladies, Hoes Stouting Hoes. From the HSH Mission Statement:
Why should the “bros” have all the fun? Women need to know there’s more to beer then light, no-carb and pilsner. So put down those pink drinks and stout up!
And via Urlesque:
Well, that whole Bros Icing Bros thing was fun while it lasted. Many a bro took a knee and chugged a lukewarm Smirnoff Ice, and the phenomenon exploded to the point where MSNBC quoted Urlesque’s own Will Zweigart in a piece about the trend. We had some good times, but now it’s time to move on …
… to Hoes Stouting Hoes.
Yes indeed, the gender roles of the Bros Icing Bros trend have been reversed. Instead of challenging a fellow’s masculinity by forcing him to down a warm “girly drink,” you can now make a lady prove her mettle by drinking a traditionally masculine stout beer.
Get your warm Guinness ready, ladies. It’s about to go down.
So I asked The Hoes, which stout should be the first featured on Beer Tour? And one of the suggestions was Left Hand’s Milk Stout (Colorado). Thankfully, it’s at my bodega. And ladies, I tell ya – I was hooked at first sip. “Milk sugar in your stout is like cream in your coffee,” says the official website. Well, I’m a cream-in-coffee addict, so I guess that’s no surprise that I loved this brew.
Not only does the Colorado brewing company produce excellent beers, but they also host a monthly Ales4FemAles event at their Tasting Room which celebrates women and beer:
Left Hand Brewing has started Ales for FemAles – a women-only “club” – designed to reach out to women to educate them all that craft beer has to offer. “We know from speaking to women in our tasting room to festivals to beer dinners, that a lot of women’s perception of beer is that yellow fizzy stuff,” says Cinzia Wallace, who, along with Sue Smith-Troy, came up with the idea in January 2008. “Craft beer is so much more than that,” says Wallace, “and we want to help our fellow women better understand the beauty of good beer.”
So next time you find yourself near Longmont, CO, make sure to get tickets for one of these events – and let me know how it is.
Now that’s something I think Hoes Stouting Hoes would approve of!