Despite the occasional rain showers, this event was well attended and the impression I got was that most folks there knew their stouts. I know there were some newbies but overheard conversations tended to discuss comparisons with favorites.
I thought this whole concept was inspired (thanks to Marketing Director Abby Dickinson) and really made it a contest. I am partial to any brew with peppers or chiles in it so there were several to try my taste buds. But I also like chocolate and coffee so there was no shortage of any of those. The only one that really tested my tolerance was a sorghum based dry stout. Sorry, but an aftertaste just didn't work for me.
My favorite chile-infused brew was from Asheville's Twin Leaf, their MDXXI (or 1521 in English) which used arbol chiles, a new one for me. Enough heat to make an impression but not overpower and the chocolate-cinnamon combination was well balanced. The finish was lighter bodied than you might expect and I could see myself having a second pint, a criterion of mine when judging.
Their Instagram post lists the top three winners, voted on by participants:
hiwirebrewingAnd your winners of the Stout Bout 2015 are... 1st Place: @burialbeer | #burialbrewing - Piston Espresso Stout, 2nd Place: @highlandbrewing | #highlandbrewing - Black Mocha Stout w/ Cherries & Oak, 3rd Place: @sierranevada | #sierranevada - Barrel Aged Narwhal, Congratulations!!
One small complaint was the serving temperatures. I and several others were vocal in our opinions that the jockey boxes were chilling the stouts way too much. I understand the viscosity issue, but hopefully next time a method can be found that serves the stouts warmer. As serious stout lovers know (and I don't quite fit that group), as a stout warms, it releases more flavors and adds body. Anyway, just thought I would pass that along.
Some photos and more notes:
|Rain held off most of the day.|
|Hi-Wire's Big Top brew house/pub is a good size for eventsl|
|5 Tables in all, each with different stouts and voting pitchers.|
|Fellow stout enthusiast, Bob Muller, gets his first taste.|
|More tokens were available, $2 per, a token for each taste|
|One of my faves, and second place winner, HIghlands Black Mocha Stout with cherries and oak.|
|This is how the blind tasting stouts were revealed. Tasted blind for two hours!|
My congratulations to the top winners and mucho thanks to Abby and the folks at Hi-Wire for hosting this very special event. #nextyear