Columbus Beer Guide: Must-try stouts

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Aside from IPAs, stouts are one of the biggest draws for beer geeks, mostly because they're easily done up with barrel-aging and all manner of infusions. Stouts are a must-try for beer drinkers who prefer their brews on the big, heavy and flavor-packed end of the spectrum.

Actual Brewing Fat Julian (10 percent ABV, 45 IBU): This double stout tastes heavily of caramel and chocolate. Track down a bottle, if you can: Actual's label artwork is easily the best in town.

Sideswipe Elegant Hoodlum (7 percent ABV): One of the only smoked beers in town, Elegant Hoodlum lives up to its name. A light smoking and a blend of wheat, oats and rye produce a smooth texture.

Wolf's Ridge Direwolf (9.3 percent ABV, 70 IBU): Brewer Chris Davison has had some fun with the Direwolf. The regular version stands up to any stout-pitch black, chocolatey and boasting dark fruit flavors-but Davison's infused versions are just as interesting, particularly the coffee stout brewed with One Line Coffee.

North High Queen Maudine Milk Stout (5.8 percent ABV, 20 IBU): Milk stouts are flavored with lactose, which produces a sweet and creamy flavor. North High's take is superb, like a rich chocolate milkshake. It's named for a cow that was jokingly voted Ohio State's homecoming queen in 1926.

Seventh Son Oubliette (12 percent ABV): Brewer Colin Vent achieved Oubliette's dark character using toasted midnight wheat. It pushes the boundaries of Ohio's ABV limit, with a boozy and fruity finish.

Zaftig Black Perle (8 percent ABV, 31 IBU): Black Perle balances chocolate and caramel malts with a pleasant bitterness derived in part from Perle hops.

Smokehouse Alexander's Russian imperial stout (7.6 percent ABV, 51 IBU): A fine example of the imperial stout style, balancing dark sweetness with heavier bitterness, Alexander's is a robust stout laced with flavors of coffee, cocoa and dark fruit.