Five on Five: Pastry Stouts

There’s no shortage of creative pastry stouts out there these days. Mixing a dessert-like base style with actual dessert has become a decadent sort of art form. We asked five brewers to share their suggestions for this sweet treat of a style.

Craft Beer and Brewing 2 months ago

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Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout

Nick Burgoyne, Brewer, Wood Cellar/Specialty Brands at SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta, Georgia
“The first time I tried Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing Co. (Tampa, Florida), it was like nothing I’d ever tasted before. The mouthfeel was like velvet on my tongue, the flavors perfectly layered with precision. The cinnamon, cacao, and vanilla are in harmony with a slight burn from the chile peppers. Not only is this the OG pastry stout, but it’s also my favorite.”

Barreled Souls Brewing Stay Puft (2019)

Tom Troncone, Founder and Brewer, Muckraker Beermaker in Franklin, New Jersey
“A 2019 release from this criminally underrated Saco, Maine, brewery, Stay Puft hits all the marks. Made in collaboration with the to-die-for Portland pizzeria Slab Sicilian Street Food, Stay Puft is an imperial stout with roasted marshmallows and graham crackers that fills the nose and taste buds with heaps of cotton candy, vanilla, and dark chocolate. Barreled Souls makes several variants of Stay Puft (including a peanut butter and a strawberry), but one stands above the rest: a barrel-aged version that spent 11 months in Booker’s Bourbon barrels. Yum.”

Stone Brewing Xocoveza Stout

Kane Wille, Head Brewer of O’Connor Brewing Company in Norfolk, Virginia
“Stone Brewing Co. (San Diego, California, and Richmond, Virginia) has always been a personal inspiration and an absolute industry monster in my eyes. Xocoveza tickles my fancy most of all. Notes of sweet milk chocolate, medium-roast coffee, spicy cinnamon, and rounding vanilla abound. Xocoveza is lush and decadent without being cloying. I know it’s not hard to find, but since when did beer have to be rare to be great?”

Bluejacket Mexican Radio

Josh Chapman, Cofounder and Brewer of Black Narrows Brewing Co. in Chincoteague Island, Virginia
“When Bluejacket (Washington, D.C.) opened in 2013, Mexican Radio was instantly a crowd favorite. At about 5.5 percent ABV, the mole-inspired milk stout was smooth and easy drinking. A little more than 3 years later when Ro Guenzel (formerly of Great Divide and Left Hand) took over brewing operations, the beer got even better. Now at 8 percent ABV and amped up in all the right spots, this beer starts with warm vanilla and cocoa notes, leading into a thick cinnamon and roast body. The finish is the kicker, with the subtle spice of ancho peppers, making this a pastry stout that you’re able to come back to time and again.”

Institution Ale Company Stranded

Christopher R. Enegren, Captain of Operations at Enegren Brewing Co. in Moorpark, California
“I really don’t ever find myself drinking pastry stouts, but if I had to pick one that I thought was well done, I’d choose Stranded—a coconut porter with some really nice smooth coffee notes from the dark malts that balance very well with the large quantity of coconut used. Although great with carbonation, this beer is awesome on nitro. It’s definitely not the epitome of pastry stout since it isn’t overloaded with sugar and other shenanigans, but it’s a nice well-balanced beer. I find most ‘pastry stouts’ too sweet and more novelty than beer, and this one is great for a full pint.”