Brewers like it big. We asked a few friends in the brewing industry to name their favorite stouts, and despite the fact that we put no style restrictions on them, every single one came back with an imperial stout. Interestingly enough, only one is barrel-aged. Read on to see what these brewers are drinking when they’re not drinking the beer they make.
Founder at Transient Artisan Ales in Bridgman, Michigan
Bell’s Expedition Stout. It’s one you can readily get, but Bell’s is consistently high quality, and it ages phenomenally. You can buy a 4-pack, drink one, and save the rest.
“Yeast Beast” at Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado
Pure Imagination by Verboten Brewing is one of my go-tos, whether it is the summer or winter time. The big mouthfeel from the oats is backed up by nice notes of chocolate and coffee rounded out by the right amount of sweetness. And finding one of the barrel-aged versions of this, either rum or bourbon, is a gift from the heavens.
Director of Brewing at Evans Brewing Co. in Irvine, California
Beachwood Brewing Tovarish. It’s huge and over-the-top, yet still perfectly balanced. Ridiculous amounts of coffee and lots of rich chocolate and toffee flavor, but not too bitter or too sweet.
Brewer at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado
Fremont Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star stands out to me as an incredible barrel-aged imperial stout. The oats make this beer. The rich creamy body rounds up the roast, barrel character, and alcohol in a way other imperial stouts don’t quite nail. It’s insanely complex but so easy to drink. Velvety smooth awesomeness.
Lead Brewer for the Goose Island barrel program in Chicago, Illinois
Honestly, I just spent all last night at Great Divide, and they are doing some fantastic stuff with their Yeti. I’ve always been impressed with them, but last night was a reaffirmation for me. I have some bottles waiting for me in my hotel room that I can’t wait to open. But all of them are really clean and well done.