What’s Brewing?: Raise a stout, a porter, a brown ale | TribLIVE.com

What’s Brewing?: Raise a stout, a porter, a brown ale

Mark Brewer
Courtesy of Four Season Brewing Co.’s
Four Season Brewing Co.’s Smoked Porter
Courtesy of Platform Beer Co.
Platform Beer Co. and Prantl’s Bakery’s Chocolate Almond Torte Stout

The leaves are changing colors, and for many of us, so will the color of the craft beer we choose to drink.

From brown ales to porters and Russian imperial stouts, darker beers are just suited to the colder months. Here are a few reasons why you might consider something dark over lighter craft beers in the coming weeks.

Many of us use coffee both as an emotional and physical comfort, especially during the colder months. A dark beer either brewed with coffee or one that simply takes on coffee aromas and flavors due to the dark roasted malts can be a more comforting choice during colder months.

Stouts and porters have similar attributes to coffee, minus the amount of caffeine. Stouts particularly can have a dense taste too, just like a dark roasted coffee. If you like cream in your coffee, a stout poured with nitro can add a texture that mimics a creamy taste.

Anyone who enjoys bourbon can speak of its warming effects as it travels down your insides. It’s a slow sipper with a delightful impact on the palate. A Russian imperial stout that’s been aged in bourbon barrels can have a similar warming effect. Typically they’re rich and thick like a great cup of hot chocolate.

’Tis the season for tasty holiday desserts too, which is indelibly something we’ve all had too much of at one point … or maybe at every point. There are so many wonderful brews that fit into the category of “dessert beers.” If you haven’t tried a raspberry fruit lambic, please treat yourself to one as they stand aside from most other beers.

Beers brewed with cookies, chocolates, tarts and gingerbread are abundant. Personally, I’ll have a tough time deciding on whether to have the Chocolate Almond Torte or a stout brewed with the Chocolate Almond Torte. Maybe both!

Here are a few dark beers that’ll warm you up. I’d love to know which ones you’ve tried. Cheers!

Four Season Brewing Co. (Latrobe)

Smoked Porter (5.4% ABV). Dark brown color. Brewed with smoked cherry wood malt. Nutty and malty aromas with a smoky-tasting finish. If you visit, don’t forget to try Dark Side of the Pint. It’s a stout poured on nitro and provides a unique creaminess everyone should try at least once.

New Holland Brewery (Holland, Mich.)

Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout (11% ABV). A stout with roasted-malt qualities intermingled with vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath, which contribute to its complex characters.

Insurrection Ale Works (Heidelberg)

Paint By Numbers — Morning Sky Stout (9% ABV). Imperial stout brewed with a plethora of dark roasted malts. Fermented with their house ale yeast. Conditioned on house-toasted coconut Madagascar vanilla beans.

Lindeman’s Brewery (Vlezenbeek, Belgium)

Lindeman’s Framboise (2.5% ABV). This Belgium lambic is deep red with a medium body. It has medium sweetness and is reminiscent of raspberries, sweet herbs and yeast. A well-balanced sweetness that provides a harmonious finish.

Platform Beer Co. (Cleveland, Ohio) and Prantl’s Bakery (Pittsburgh)

Chocolate Almond Torte Stout (8.5% ABV). Brewed with Prantl’s famous almonds, chocolate, vanilla and lactose. Platform Beer’s Chocolate Almond Torte was released to the public on Oct. 19 in its Ohio tasting rooms. It’s sold at various retailers and craft beer stores throughout Pittsburgh.

Mark Brewer is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. He’s the author and illustrator of “Brewology, An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers.”

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