Trying to do every microbrewery would be like using a beer mug to empty a lake. But, my little scratch in the industry as a patron, along with others, has helped create jobs, revitalize small towns and bring dusty main streets back to life. I’ve seen it from Perryville, Missouri to Wibaux, Montana. That being said, here are my five favorite darks from 2018.
1. Lunar Eclipse Stout (Dobra Zupas) – Beckley, West Virginia. This is the one that stole my liver. In fact, it was so good, I spent an extra day in the town of Beckley. A mild sweetness with a hint of chocolate orange. The added citra hops throw in a wee subtle bitterness to finish it off. My head was spinning from the great taste, not the alcohol. This beer later won the 2018 West Virginia Craft Beer Festival, Best in Show, and Best in Dark Beer Category. Not surprised.
2. Chestnut Street Brown Ale (Chattanooga Brewing Co) – Chattanooga, Tennessee. After coming down from the Smoky Mountains with a parched pallet, I got lucky with this one. A more or less traditionally brewed brown ale with a malt flavor and an easy roasted chocolate malt finish that lingers on the tongue. No nuts in this brew though, it gets its name from the street it was conceived on.
3. The Implication. (Bismarck Brewing) Bismarck, North Dakota. On my way out west I stumbled upon this beauty. Did they put Mounds in this beer? That’s my implication. They made a milk stout and added tons of chocolate and coconut. I’m not a coconut guy, but it works here. It’s a little sweet, but the bitter chocolate balances it out for a super smooth finish.
4. Northsider Imperial Stout” (Mountains Walking Brewery) – Bozeman, Montana. Amazing thick head. A wonderful, creamy, coffee, chocolate/vanilla flavor. For a high ABV, this one goes down easy. Yes, I see the sexual connotations in everything I just wrote here… but when a beer is this good..
5. Carnegie Stout (Jubecks New World Brewing) – Dubuque, Iowa. An excellent old school stout. My favorite Stout in Dubuque’s growing microbrewery scene and belongs on this list for sure.