If there’s one beer that speaks English, it’s stout—as these Australian, British and American versions prove
Coopers Brewery Best Extra Stout
Bone-dry cocoa and Ovaltine flavors with 220-grit texture and a shortish but evenly-balanced finish. As it warms in the glass, a rustic maltiness comes to the fore and grabs you by the suspender straps, begging for a waltz. Put several of these Aussie brown dogs under your belt and ’roo-wrestling will seem like a piece of cake.
St. Peter’s Cream Stout
Concocted in a remote corner of Suffolk, this viscous, black stout with sweet, rich, malty flavors is as sturdy as a three-legged stool and a credit to the type, but Americans will probably want to reconsider the brewery’s advice to drink it at room temperature; a bit of chill does wonders for its quaffability. The replica 18th-century Philadelphia flask makes a nifty souvenir after you’ve finished the saintly brew inside.
Young’s Oatmeal Stout
Cereals are the essence of bland, and oatmeal may be the blandest. But having grown up snitching Quaker Oats straight out of the box, I had a predisposition to like this blackish brew. Its safely middle-of-the-road flavors cuddle rather than enrapture, but you don’t need to see God after every night at the pub, now, do you?
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Aged 100 days in bourbon barrels, this imperial butt-whomper from Chicago is so tightly-packed with flavors that you simply must sip it; gulping could cause catastrophic stimulatory overload. As refined and gentlemanly as any front-porch bourbon, it coats the tongue like a Kentucky accent and unfurls layer after layer of goodness on a texture like thick cream.
Redhook Double Black Stout
A limited run of the 1995 classic from Redhook is available again, but only for a short time. Brewed with coffee and weighing in at a hefty 7.0 abv, it’s superbly balanced, with choco-coffee-vanilla tones and a texture like a properly-pulled espresso.
Marin Brewing San Quentin Breakout Stout
I love a crisp stout, and this one scours the taste buds like a San Quentin searchlight piercing the Golden Gate fog. Alarms go off as chocolate and malt flavors breach the palate and scatter like lifers with nothing left to lose. Marin brewmaster Brendan Moylan keeps it lively on the way out, too, with lots of over-the-wall bang.