Some stouts pour like motor oil and drink like a meal—and sometimes that's exactly what you want when you're sampling one-offs and specialty brews for an evening. But sometimes you don't want your beer to fill you up for the evening, and that's why Guinness has so many fans around the world: despite its dense and creamy appearance, it's actually light and refreshing.
We've already talked about the roasted malts that give Guinness its distinctively dark color and flavor, but it's not the only stout out there that brings beautiful coffee and cocoa flavors to the table in a thirst-quenching package. The range of options, from oatmeal- and milk-infused brews to others with licorice and molasses, is bound to win over even the staunchest Guinness drinker.
When you feel like going over to the dark side with your beer, why not branch out with these 5 stouts:
5 More Stouts to Try
- Left Hand's nitro bottles of milk stout are a classic alternative for Guinness regulars, but the brewery turns out a bunch of impressive stouts and porters for beer aficionados to work their way through. Case in point: its seasonal Fade to Black foreign export stout, with a deeply roasted taste that's still smooth.
- Sweet chocolate notes are prominent in every sip of Allagash Black. As with all of the Maine brewery's Belgian-style beers, it's bottle-conditioned, giving it a gentle and subtle carbonation. But don't be lulled by the dessert-friendly palate: this beer is equally good with smoky brisket or pork.
- Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout is the very definition of quaffability. Not as intensely rich as other American craft stouts, it's a lovely, refreshing version that takes the best of Guinness' goes-down-easy characteristics and adds a touch of oatmeal for creaminess.
- If you want to get a little hoppy, crack open a Victory Storm King—brewed with whole flower hops, it adds a hit of floral bite and bitterness to the classic maltiness of a stout, with a dry finish. It's also opaquely dark, pouring a dark beige head that will make Guinness lovers swoon.
- And if you really want to blow your stout-loving friends' minds, pick up Master of Disguise, the latest release from from Stone Brewing's Stochasticity Project. Its look is that of a golden ale, but its taste is is that of a coffee-forward stout, rich and sweet with a clean finish. They'll never know what hit 'em.
Apart from Guinness, what's your favorite stout?