Beer roundup: Five stouts with staying power

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The holidays are over but stout season is upon us! Winter is the time to cozy up with rich, dark, boozy beers, ones that warm you up from head to toe. Here are five dark stouts to help you handle the dim days of winter.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing | Dire Wolf

Try to catch the Dire Wolf at the new Wolf’s Ridge taproom. Head brewer Chris Davison is debuting the Russian Imperial Stout in several versions, from infusions with coffee to vanilla, or chocolate to chili, plus rum barrel-aged versions. Kick back with samples of the stout in the new taproom, and enjoy bar snacks while you work your way through 20 different Wolf’s Ridge brews on tap.

Sideswipe Brewing Co. |ElegantHoodlum Smoked Stout

Sideswipe’s Elegant Hoodlum is a solid introduction to the smoked beer, or rauchbier, style. The smoke is certainly present, although it’s not overpowering. The stout is built on a complex foundation of wheat, rye and oats, while a light smoking imparts an incredibly smooth texture. It’s the type of beer you sip while enjoying elegant pastimes like smoking a pipe or reading dusty, leather-bound books.

FoundersBrewing Co. |Imperial Stout

Beer aficionados may clamor for Founders Breakfast or Kentucky Breakfast stouts, but the regular Imperial Stout released every January makes just as big of an impression. The smooth and creamy stout is a balance of coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. Its big body makes it good for slowly sipping, while the 10.5% ABV offers a nice little bite (and a little warmth).

North High Brewing |Queen Maudine Milk Stout

There’s no milk in milk stout. A milk stout’s dairy-like sweetness comes from lactose, a sugar that’s not fermentable by yeast. North High’s signature stout is like an alcoholic milkshake. It pours dark with a tan head, while the sweetness is balanced by flavors of cocoa and a light coffee bitterness at the end.

North Coast Brewing | Old RasputinStout

Old Rasputin exemplifies the Russian Imperial Stout style: pitch black, bold and loaded with dark roasted flavors. Expect a balance of sweet and bitter. The sweetness comes from chocolate, caramel and dark fruits; the bitterness from coffee and burnt wood flavors. Looking like a glass of motor oil, the brew is smooth, creamy and eminently enjoyable.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook “Breakfast With Nick: Columbus.” He’s a regular contributor to Columbus Crave, and leads breakfast tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.