I hate oatmeal. I can’t handle it. That mushy soggy stuff isn’t my idea of a good breakfast. Give me bacon and eggs any day. I can do French toast. Pancakes are great. Anything but oatmeal.
My hatred of oatmeal stops at the breakfast staple though. I like oatmeal raisin cookies. I like it when I order apple crisp for dessert and they throw a handful of oatmeal on the top. And, above all, I always enjoy a good oatmeal stout.
Oatmeal stouts are a nice mix of creaminess, chocolate, coffee, and gentle booze burn. The part that separates an oatmeal stout from a regular stout is its mouthfeel. The oatmeal used in the brewing process gives the beer a creamy, silky mouthfeel. That’s something the Quaker Oats guy can be proud of!
On to the Three of a Kind!
New Holland Poet
I’m going to start this one off with a soon to be familiar description. The beer is dark. Very dark. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s black. The aroma was slightly sweet and malty. Nothing overly powerful. The Poet had a slight coffee aroma mixed in too. The flavor is thick and sweet, some slight chocolate and coffee. There was mild bitterness throughout that became even more apparent in the finish. Not as smooth as I would have liked, but still tasty nonetheless. I’d give it a 6.
Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is what I would consider to be the standard oatmeal stout. It may not be the best, but it’s definitely not the worst. A good beer for brewers to mirror their oatmeal stout after. Just like the Poet, this beer was as black as can be. It has a nice mild malty aroma. It didn’t have as strong of a coffee smell as the Poet. In the flavor lies that wonderful smooth, creamy sweet taste. It has a mild mocha flavor with a very subtle bitterness. A great beer. I’d give it an 8.
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Barney Flats is apparently Boontling for Hendy Woods State Park. It’s a park full of virgin redwoods out in Anderson Valley over on the West Coast. I’m not sure exactly what that has to do with oatmeal stouts. But, in all honesty, I don’t really care, because this beer in amazing! Like the others, the Anderson Valley Barney Flats is black as oil and has a mild malty aroma. The flavor is the real decider here, though. The Barney Flats is malty sweet with a mild mocha flavor. Its creamy mouthfeel separates it from the others, giving this beer an almost dessert-like taste. It lingers on your tongue with a nice sweet flavor, and when the bottle’s empty, you’re wishing there was more. If you’re looking to try an oatmeal stout, this is the one. Definitely a 9.
This episode’s wild card is the Southern Tier Oat. The Oat is a beer much like the other, but this guy’s an imperial oatmeal stout. The Oat is a big beer, and really the type of beer you can only have one of, but it’s delicious. It’s a deep brown color that’s nearly black with a mild malty aroma that’s overpowered by its boozy bourbon-like scent. The flavor is creamy and sweet, and thick like molasses. It has a mild bitterness lurking behind the sweet malty flavor, and just when you think the bitterness is going to show up, the booze punches you in the throat and leaves you with a mild alcohol burn. A very tasty beer, and definitely one you’ll need to take slowly. I’d give it an 8.
So, get out there and try an oatmeal stout (especially one from Anderson Valley). You won’t be disappointed by their smooth sweet flavor!
All of these beers are available at RFD and most other beer bars (Sam Smith’s most prominent, followed by the Barney Flats, the Oat, and the Poet). Whole Foods on P Street had all of them readily available for you to pick up and sit at home going through your own Three of a Kind.
What is your favorite oatmeal stout? What others weren’t mentioned? Have you tried brewing one? Where else have you seen these available?