Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saint Arnold Winter Stout Review

Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. | Beer: Winter Stout
Style: American Stout | ABV: 5.6%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Saint Arnold Winter StoutReading Fermenting Revolution by Christopher O'Brien (book review to follow) really drove home how beneficial to the environment drinking local beer can be. With this in mind I decided to review some beers from my local Houston area.

Unfortunately, there aren't the number of craft-brewed offerings flowing from the Bayou City one would hope for. But fear not fellow Houstonians, I've sourced some great beers from a magnificent craft-brewer located right here in Houston, Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

Founded in 1994, Saint Arnold is the oldest microbrewery in the city. In neat a coincidence with my decision to pick this brewer, the company is run with sustainability in mind and
even has a six-pack holder recycling program. Their lineup is made up of five regulars and five seasonal brews. The beer I've chosen to showcase here is one of those seasonal specials, their Winter Stout.

Launched in 1997, Winter Stout is the second winter seasonal from Saint Arnold, accompanying their Christmas Ale.
The beer has been quite popular amongst SA customers and has even won a silver medal for sweet stout in the 2000 Great American Beer Festival. Using a blend of four kinds of malted barley and two varieties of hop, this beer should have some serious complexity and body.

Appearance
: Pours a very dark red-brown (almost black) body with a healthy butterscotch head that settles into a small and almost Guinness-like cream

Aroma: Sweet and malty, almost reminds me of soured Guinness (and not in a bad way)

Taste: Absolutely bursting with flavor! Rich roasted malt body with definite dark chocolate, coffee and caramel notes

Mouthfeel: Feels cold, coats well and is not too fizzy

Drinkability: Initially it seems quite rich, but after a few sips it's a very sessionable beer (providing you like stouts)

Verdict: This a truly a brilliant example of an American Stout with the added bonus of being local. I really wish Saint Arnold would brew this year-round, but they say the demand is not there. What a shame. Looks like I'm going to have to find a case to stash for the summer.

Grade: A

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