We look forward to St. Patrick’s Day each year, both for the opportunity to break out that random article of green clothing or accessory that we almost never get to wear, and for the chance to participate in a number of local festivities. But mainly, there’s the beer. No, not the plastic cups of light lager with a splash of green food coloring. This time of year calls for a hearty stout, and we’re lucky to have some superior options at Coastal Virginia breweries. While there are too many to name all our favorites (that’s a good thing), here are a few suggestions.
Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout
The Virginia Beer Co., Williamsburg
Ever heard that saying, “Beer is the breakfast of champions”? If your happy hour starts at 9 a.m. (hey, we’re not here to judge—you do you), then an oatmeal stout seems most appropriate. Elbow Patches starts velvety before the chocolate and coffee essence kicks in, also lending a slight nuttiness. Start the day off with this, and it’ll be a real top o’ the mornin’ to ya.
Cowcatcher Milk Stout
Smartmouth Brewing Co., Norfolk (and soon to be Virginia Beach)
It’s important to get a healthy dosage of Vitamin D, and while this milk stout does contain lactose, it’s more touted for its Vitamin D-elicious qualities (yeah, we just made that up). Cowcatcher flows smooth and creamy, followed by somewhat of a dry aftertaste. It pours pitch black with a caramel-colored head, and it’s toasty, mild and enjoyable, whether on tap or poured from the purple can.
ODIS (O’Connor) Dry Irish Stout
O’Connor Brewing Co., Norfolk
We didn’t choose this stout just because it’s Irish, but let’s be honest—it’s fitting. This robust stout comes with a rich, roasted malt aroma, complete with coffee notes and a dry finish. It’s a sturdy stout but not as heavy as you’d think. If ODIS were a real person, we think he’d be a great pal.
Dia De Los Serranos Double Stout
Green Flash Brewing Co., Virginia Beach
Want to spice things up a little? At first sip, this sweet stout gives hints of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate with a little pepper up front—and then bam—a swift kick of fresh serrano chiles to finish (don’t worry—it’s not overbearing). If you don’t get to it by March 17, save it for Cinco De Mayo in May or Dia de Los Muertos starting Oct. 31. Basically, it’s good any time of the year.
Ape Hanger Russian Imperial Stout
Big Ugly Brewing, Chesapeake
Looking for a beer that means business? Big Ugly’s Ape Hanger presents rich, bold chocolate and coffee flavors balanced with hops so that it’s not ultra sweet. As they note, it’s a “big beer for big boys and girls,” and it’s also 9% ABV, so go slow on this one—you’ve got a long day of St. Patty’s partying ahead of you.
If you like beer (and we hope you do) you should join us Saturday, May 6 at Hunt Club Farm for our CoVa Beer Fest and Food Truck Rodeo.