Stout is the classic drink traditionally served during St Patrick’s Day celebrations on 17th March. From the classic dark, dry, malty stout, to stout made with oysters, and stouts with tropical vibes there’s a stout for everyone. Although Guinness is the official drink, there are plenty of other choices including some fantastic local stouts made in Northumberland and Scottish Borders. Feed your inner green with some locally brewed stout to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style this weekend!
Stouts are typically strong ales that are dark and creamy and are becoming a more popular ale style for drinkers across the country. Statistics show that demand for stout has increased 13% over the past year. Stouts were once regarded as a category for all strong ales, regardless of colour which is perhaps why some beer companies say their ales are stouts because they are strong, rich beers. A stout is made from roasted malt or barley which give it its dark colour and smoky tastes. Many stouts don’t have high ABV percentages nowadays which is perhaps why they are becoming more common and suitable for drinking more than one or two without confining yourself to bed the next day.
Different Stout Styles
There are many different stout styles which are affected either by flavour combinations and the amount of roasted malt and barley used. These can affect taste, nose and texture of the ale.
The most famous of all stout styles. Guinness is the base of our stout knowledge in the UK. Many stouts made in this style use unmalted dark-roasted barley. This creates a lighter-drinking style of stout too.
Imperial stouts generally have a higher ABV percentage making them not for the faint-hearted. The high alcohol content, however, creates an acute sweetness in the ale and richer chocolate flavours.
The oats are used more for texture than for taste. The oats aid the creaminess of the stout without impacting any sweetness into the drink.
Not the most widely available style, but the oysters bring a subtle saltiness which penetrates the creaminess of the stout. One of those food combinations that surprise and delight many!
Milk stouts have the addition of lactose which creates the creamy texture. A milk stout should be easy-drinking and moreish like many other sweet-style drinks.
Coffee stout is perhaps the most popular style of flavoured stouts. Coffee flavours match the malty flavour of the stout, similar to chocolate. Coffee can bring a trace of bitterness to the stout. This style has rocketed in popularity since the rise of the craft brewer and artisan, independent coffee roaster.
Local Stouts Worth Shouting About!
This relatively new brewery based on the Ford and Etal Estate has 3 stouts to its name already.
Black Hag: At 4.4% ABV, Black Hag is a traditional Oatmeal Stout which is rich and smooth. It is made from 5 malts and 2 hop varieties which result in notes of typical stout flavours of coffee and dark chocolate.
Menhir: A rich coffee stout at 5.1% ABV. A bitter stout with notes of dark chocolate, burnt caramel and coffee.
Holy Bounty: An easy-drinking 4.8% ABV stout. A collaboration with Lindisfarne Oysters has brought was seems an obscure combination to create Holy Bounty to the border region. Oyster stouts are typically sweeter varieties and not only refine the ale, but also enhance its flavour. The stout debuted this year at The Curfew’s Winter and Belgian Beer festival in Berwick upon Tweed. Enjoy its smooth, creamy flavours with seafood.
The popular craft beer company at Tweedbank is well-known for its innovative flavours and styles of ales, lagers and seasonal specials. Discover more of their range during Springfest 2019 on the 18th May at the brewery.
Mexicake: a seemingly typical stout but infused with a Latin flair. The rich stout boasts exotic flavours ranging from Ceylon cinnamon, Chipotle chillies and high-quality cocoa. What emerges from the bottle is a stout with a rich mouthfeel with hints of sweetness and spice from the complimentary flavour additions.
Allendale Brewery has 3 stouts under its belt and has been brewing since 2006. All ales are inspired by the wild lands north of the Pennines.
Odessa Export Stout: A dark, rich but fruity stout at 7.1& ABV it is quite strong. Part of the Wilderness range.
Black Magic Coffee Stout: A collaboration with a new cold brew coffee company called Hike Coffee. It’s 5% ABV and has a smooth, rich taste with the flavour of coffee. The cold brew coffee delivers a consistently smooth, less acidic taste throughout the pint.
Tar Bar’l Stout: Allendale Brewery‘s first stout was created for a New Year’s celebration, but has stayed around! At only 4.5% ABV you can see the whole night through. Tar Bar’l is a classic, rich stout with quintessential coffee and chocolate flavours. The hops used to create an orange, citrus infusion to the drink.
The Ship Inn Brewery is situated in a beautiful location along the North Sea coast and available at The Ship Inn at Low Newton-by-the-Sea making itself self-sufficient in terms of ale.
Ship Inn Squid Ink: A classic stout with bitter chocolate and coffee flavours contrasted with sweet notes of dried fruit. At 4.2%, it is medium bodied and easy-drinking.
Muckle Moss Stout: An easy-drinking stout at 4.3% ABV. Its flavour is inspired by the moss surrounding the Northumberland moors and hills covered in moss. It is rich and a dark brown colour with chocolate hints and a strong malty finish.
Blackhall English Stout by Hexhamshire Brewery is a quintessential, easy-drinking stout. It has a velvety mouthfeel with a slightly bitter finish with smoky notes.
The nano-brewery based in Spittal, Berwick-upon-Tweed makes 2 popular stouts which are both unfined, unfiltered and vegan-friendly!
Black Mage: An intense, strong stout at 8.6% ABV, As black as a peat bog with a full-bodied, malty taste with coffee notes.
Pooka: A medium-bodied stout at 6% ABV with the classic taste of rich chocolate notes and smooth mouthfeel.
Stout For All Seasons
Try something different for St Patrick’s Day. These beers are not just alternatives to Guinness, these are ales to keep drinking throughout the year and to enjoy. Here’s a toast to the local brewers!
Match your favourite stouts with some delicious treats including Lindisfarne Oysters, Giacopazzi’s vanilla ice cream, Karmic Cakery‘s chocolate and oreo cake and not forgetting a classic Irish stew made with mutton loin chops from Peelham Farm. Sláinte!