Beer History: Stout

StoutStout, known as the porter’s big brother, was brought on to the beer scene in the late 1700’s by none other than Arthur Guinness himself. Porters appeared around the 1720’s, and after several decades, stronger beer was in pursuit. The word “stout” simply meant “strong,” so when Arthur came out with a stronger beer, it was simply known as a “stout porter.”  Eventually, around 1820 or so, it was shortened to just “stout.” Before the invention of the black patent malt in 1817, stouts were never dark in color. Most porters and stouts were more of a brown or amber color since they only had brown malt additions.

GuinnessThere were 3 types of stouts that were popular back in the 1800’s: Dry, Foreign, and Imperial.  In the beginning of the 20th century, Oatmeal and Sweet, or milk, stouts began hitting the market with the addition of lactose sugars and malted oats. Stouts began to die off shortly after World War 1 with only a few places left around the UK that continued to brew them. Somewhere between the 1950’s and 1970’s, porters were considered an old man’s drink and pretty much died out completely, whereas stouts still remained in the market, albeit mainly in the UK. Most “true” stouts today measure somewhere in between 5-7% ABV, but many breweries go above and beyond that mark. That’s why we see so many Russian Imperials, BA Stouts, etc. spiking in the 13-17% ABV ranges.

If you’re looking for a good, true stout to enjoy, look to none other than the creators. Of all the stouts we’ve had, there is always one that we continue to come back to and that is Guinness, especially on draft or out of the can. So the next time you grab yourself a pint, have it in honor of Arthur.

Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island Beer Co.

Black Friday has nothing to do with shopping. It isn’t about the great deals, the long lines, and waking up at ungodly hours just to save a few bucks. It isn’t about the start to the Christmas countdown, the tryptophan sleepiness finally wearing off, and eating leftover turkey for the next two weeks. In our minds, it’s all about the release of Bourbon County Brand Stout by Goose Island Brewing, a beer worth getting up early and taking a swing at other customers for if needs be. It’s the black pearl in the Goose Island fleet, and hunting it down on Black Friday has become a tradition well worth keeping…

Will Work for Beer

Have you ever bought so much beer at one place that they offer you a job to work there? We have, and here’s the story about it…

work for beer

It’s a small, country-market sort of store that sells everything from deli meat and fresh produce to ice cream for the kids (at unbelievably cheap prices) and mulch for your flowerbeds. And while the great variety and even better values make it a weekly ritual for our family to visit on the way home from church, I couldn’t care less about what food they have to offer. Zack and I have been frequenting the joint for a few years now on account of the amazing craft beer selection, despite being a somewhat small store.  In fact, our wives could probably make a pretty strong argument that we’ve done more than just “frequent” the place.  I was even approached about working there part-time this summer, a gig that as a teacher on summer break I gave some serious thought to.  I politely passed, opting to remain just a regular customer.  For now.  After all, when you start working there once a month for the beer and wine sampling nights, pouring and talking about beer like it’s your job, you’ve already become somewhat of an employee without ever really intending to be…

Wayne's Country MarketWith well-established connections to the right distributors and a finger on the pulse of what craft brew customers are after, Wayne’s Country Market has helped to feed our passion for beer like no other place in town.  And while there are other places in town that sell craft beer, none other seems to rotate it as often, from the bottle and can selection to the growler station.  We often give our input into what we’re seeking out, and they often satisfy our picky appetites, usually holding back the most special ones so we can have first crack at something that there’s a limited supply of.  Perks like that are what have caused us to pretty much abandon most of the other places in town, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence anymore when I’m passing the  driveway to feel my car slowly start veering towards the entrance.  I used to think it was just a weird magnetic field around the place, but now I know that it’s actually just a barley and hops-laden oasis that both my car and my body have become accustomed to seeing on a regular basis.

MikeZackBack to being an employee…after spending enough time in the store to probably raise the suspicions of the actual employees and the constant hint-dropping about being more involved, we were asked if we would be interested in helping out at sampling nights once a month.  We both wholeheartedly agreed, and have done it for a couple of years now.  I always love when I get asked by people at those tastings if I work for the distributor or for Wayne’s.  My response is always the same:  “Neither.  Zack and I just buy beer here so often that they asked us to start helping out.”  The laughs that ensue, and the opportunities to share my nerdy love of all things beer, will keep me coming back for as long as they’re in business.  And judging by how much money we drop in there week after week, I think it’s safe to say that there’s no end in sight…

the Hopostles

Trip in the Woods by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

When’s the last time you took a trip in the woods? Or better yet, when’s the last time you ran into a narwhal? Or even better yet, when is the last time you were confused about what you were supposed to be doing in the first place? Our latest beer of the week, Sierra Nevada’s Trip in the Woods:  Barrel-aged Narwhal w/ cocoa and coconut, will seek out answers to those questions and perhaps others you’re pondering. Let’s just hope the taste of the beer is easier to sum up than its name…

Stone Brewing Company

Stone BrewingAddress: 1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, CA 92029

Phone: (760) 294-7899


Flagship Beers: Stone Pale Ale, Go To IPA, Ripper, Arrogant Bastard, Coffee Milk Stout, Delicious IPA, Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

Seasonal Releases: Xocoveza, Anniversary Ale Series, RuinTen TIPA

Series Releases: Encore Series, Enjoy By

The Down Low: Founded in 1996 and now the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States, evidence of Stone Brewing Company in the beer world is everywhere.  They got their start in San Marcos, CA, but are headquartered now in Escondido.  And with other breweries scattered throughout California and as far away as Germany and Richmond, VA, Stone shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Stone BCThey’re a staple beer in what seems to be every craft beer store we’ve ever been in.  Known well for their logo, which features the devil holding a mug of beer, their bottles are found anywhere that craft beer is sold.  In fact, most of the time that we go looking for their beer, there seems to be a new one on the shelf.  Constantly experimenting with new styles and collaborations, they’re constantly innovating new ways to keep the craft beer drinkers interested.  Mocha IPA.  Oaked Arrogant Bastard.  Smoked Porters.  Coffee Stouts.  You name it, they’ve tried making it.  And while the majority of their beers would be considered good by most and average by the most picky, you’ve gotta hand it them for always trying something new.  In the craft brew industry, standing apart from the rest is critical–that’s something Stone has always done.

Stone TapsOur personal favorite from Stone has got to be the Enjoy By Series.  Using “devestatingly fresh” hops, this series grabbed our attention a few years ago.  The smell of hops attacks the olfactory senses as soon as the cap is popped, and the taste confirms what you’re hoping is going to match up.  The dates on the bottle are front and center, encouraging a date to “enjoy by.”  If you don’t, the fresh hop flavor drops off, becoming more malty and syrupy.  This series used to be found only in 22 oz. bombers, but like many other beers as of late that they produce, 12 oz. bottles are now an option as well.  In the last couple of years, cans are in full swing, coming in six and twelve packs depending on the style.

Breweries that do something well are here to stay.  That being said, you can expect to see Stone for many more years to come.  Just don’t expect to see the same old beers week after week, or anything that’s just run-of-the-mill for that matter…

the Hopostles

Paranormal by Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Our favorite time of the beer year (Fall) is always jam-packed with more pumpkin beers for us to try than we have time for.  Such was the case in 2017.  Consider this week’s beer a spillover from last month, as we squeeze in one more brew for the Heavenly Gourd Series. Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Flying Monkeys Brewery is something out of the ordinary, and is a suitable plus one for the harvest season that has already come and gone…

Hoppy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Cheers

On this Thanksgiving eve, people everywhere are scrambling to make their final preparations for the big day. In just a matter of hours, mouth-watering aromas will begin to fill the air.

We hope you put as much thought into your beverage selections as you did into picking that perfect bird. But in case you didn’t, we’re here to point you in the right direction. reached out to several beer experts for their thoughts on what you should, and should not be drinking this Thanksgiving. Just a warning, they can get a little technical, but they know their beer! Check out the full article here.

We’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite Thanksgiving day beer pairings?

Chai Yeti by Great Divide Brewing Co.

He goes by different names, depending on what geographic region you’re talking about. The Abominable Snowman. Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Our personal favorite though is Yeti, and who would’ve thought such a formidable beast could taste so good when prepared so many different ways? We’ve tried him infused with chocolate, laced with espresso, and even aged in oak barrels. So why not try him seasoned with some chai spice?  Join us on our expedition this week to find and experience the latest Yeti by Great Divide Brewing, a quest we welcome every time…

Beer History: Porter

porterPorters date back to early 18th century England, when a London brewer named Ralph Hardwood blended 3 different beers together: an ale, a beer, and a strong beer, which were known as the “Three threads.”  And so, the porter was born.  Due to the length of time it took to age porters, they were among the first styles of beer to be made by breweries, instead of being created in the bars. The name “porter” was derived from the porters who carried goods around the cities, since they favored this style of beer.

The invention of the malt roaster in 1817 created what was to become the porters of today. This roaster allowed the malts to essentially blacken, giving way to porter’s darker, more roasty finish. Guinness started brewing porters back in 1776, and after almost a century, became the largest brewery in the world. Their last production of porters was in 1974, when they transitioned to nothing but stout production.

British-FlagThe porter made its debut in America in the late 1700’s by way of the British. Porters remained one of the prominent styles of beer here until WW1, when they virtually disappeared. It wasn’t until 1972 that a brewery from San Francisco revived the porter style again. Anchor Brewing became the first American craft brewery to produce a porter after Prohibition. Many craft breweries followed suit, and today, there are literally thousands of different styles of porters around the world, giving off a vast array of notes. Although they might not be as popular as some other styles, they are an easy style to drink, no matter what time of year.

So next time you pour yourself a porter, thank Ralph for going out on a limb. Without his creativity and ambition, we likely wouldn’t be enjoying this delicious brew today.