Stylin’ & Profilin’ is a brief look at different beer styles that will help you learn whether they’re right for you. Ultimately, words can’t truly turn you on to a solid craft beer. You have to smell, taste, and savor each sip to truly discover if it’s one you’ll come back to in the future. But the background info obtained in this post won’t hurt anything either. In addition, Stylin’ & Profilin’ takes a glance at various elements of craft beer culture to further enhance your knowledge and know-how!
What is a Pastry Stout?
There was a point in time when I saw my first ad for Bud Light Lime and said, “Seriously? Lime? In beer?” Of course, this really didn’t lead to anything for me. Lime in swill = lime-flavored swill. Pass.
But, little did I know that was just the tiniest little tip on the iceberg. Adding fruit to multiple styles of beer has become as commonplace as happy hour at your friendly neighborhood watering hole. Grapefruit IPAs, Blood Orange Goses, etc, etc.
And this is not a knock. Many of these beers are quite refreshing. My point is that adding various adjuncts to solid base beers has become a regular practice in breweries across the country. Constant innovation has made a liquid we may have looked at cross-eyed a few years ago all the more normal and appealing.
A chocolate vanilla birthday cake in a beer?
2011: “Ugh, that can’t be good.”
2019: “What’s the can limit?”
If New England Style IPAs are number one in the pecking order for beers the kids these days are clamoring for, pastry stouts are definitely 1a. They provide the ultimate allure. The perfect combination of consumable vices: beer and sweets. Satisfy your cravings for sweets while enjoying a delicious beer at the same time? If this doesn’t happen in heaven, I don’t want to go.
A pastry stout is much like your typical stout – thick, rich, and roasty – but made with a sweeter base. From there, adjuncts of all shapes and sizes are added to deliver the sweet flavor of anything from Oreo cookies to chocolate cake to breakfast cereal to anything in between.
What is an adjunct? According to Craft Beer & Brewing, it’s nothing more than a non-malt source of fermentable sugars. This means the definition takes on many faces and anything from candy syrups, unmalted wheat, barley, rye, oats, rice, maize, honey, coffee, maple syrup, fruit, pumpkins, peppers, or cereal will qualify as an adjunct.
One of the first Pastry Stouts, if that’s the proper term for this beer, I remember having was Choklat by Lakewood, New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company. When I first experienced this beer, I had never heard the term ‘pastry stout.’ Nor had I heard the term ‘dessert beer,’ which is how Southern Tier classifies Choklat. I just remember taking a whiff and a sip and being like “whoa.” It was like liquified chocolate that gave you a satisfying buzz. I still purchase this beer every Winter when it releases.
Southern Tier has added other dessert beers to their portfolio over the years, including Cherry Cordial, Samoa This, Creme Brulee, and Thick Mint. All stouts. All sweet. All meant to push your palate to a new level of delectable delight.
The buzz for Pastry Stouts is strong and will continue to be just that as long as beer enthusiasts maintain an affection for a) something sweet, b) something canned, and c) something new. The cans allow drinkers to share these liquids with friends and/or trade them with other beer drinkers around the globe in exchange for…you guessed it…other pastry stouts. As is tradition with craft beer these days, getting to try the next sweet release from your favorite brewery is what keeps loyal drinkers coming back. And breweries are delivering on this with new liquids hitting the market seemingly every week, whether on tap or packaged for your on-the-go convenience.
Next time you’re out, see if your favorite brewery or pub has a pastry stout available. Give it a whirl and see if it’s for you!
What’s your favorite pastry stout? Let us know on Twitter (@breakingbrewsco) and include a picture should you have one.