Who is the Stoutwhisperer?
There are 100 counties in the great state of North Carolina and over 200 breweries. That means everyone in North Carolina from the Atlantic to the Appalachians is either close to or has access to some amazing local craft beer. Since this is Stout season, the good people at North Craftolina have asked me to wax poetic about the incredible Stouts we have within our state boundaries….and more specifically the Stouts brewed by our local independent brewmasters.
As I considered this daunting task, I began to list those Stouts that would be included in such a review. I started with the first NC Stout that I ever put my lips to – Duck Rabbit Milk Stout – and began to work my way around the state. When I finished, I realized that we need to change the slogan on our license plates! No more “First in Flight” – it should be “First in Stouts”! What a list! One could easily stay within our stout boundaries, er, I meant state boundaries, and enjoy a full complement of every type of Stout. So, sit back, crack open your favorite NC Stout and come along for a quick tour of North Carolina Stouts!
First things first…. this is not a full inventory of all our Stouts within NC, so if I don’t mention your favorite NC Stout, I apologize in advance. Also, I’ll only touch on those Stouts that are bottled or canned on a regular/seasonal basis. There are some amazing Stouts that never see any distribution outside of their taproom or are one off creations (think Anniversary or Collaboration Stouts) but I’ll set those aside for now and focus on those you can take home and enjoy. This list is merely intended to whet your taste buds and give you some wonderful local options for Stouts.
Starting out west, Asheville is the craft beer capital of western North Carolina and a few breweries have impressive Stout programs. Burial’s Skillet Donut Stout is very popular and always flies off the shelf when its released. The Hi-Wire Strongman series and WD-40 are popular as is Highland’s Double Chocolate Black Watch. Stout offerings from Twin Leaf, Pisgah, and Catawba deserve your attention as well.
Moving east, we run smack into Olde Hickory Brewing where their Event Horizon (barrel aged) and Lindley Park (Barrel aged with Raspberries) Stouts are an annual treat for Stout aficionados! They’ve also joined a national trend of variant releases with Event Horizon. Cinnamon, Coffee, Chocolate, Coconut all find their way into various Event Horizon bottles. Their Hickory Stick Stout is also a great traditional Stout.
Can’t stop now…heading into Charlotte which gives us a chance to savor Monstro from NoDA, Cataclysm III from Heist (really tough to get), Mexi-Cali Stout from Birdsong, as well as great lineups from Triple C, Unknown, and Ass Clown.
Continuing on, perhaps the most nationally known of our Stouts comes from Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, where their releases of Sexual Chocolate and Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate are full-fledged events! Long lines, bottle shares, vertical tastings, special glassware…. all the trappings of special releases! Tough to get, but if you find it, buy it!
Moving south a bit, a couple of local breweries are worthy of your attention. Four Saints Brewing in Asheboro have a great lineup of Stouts, with their Stout One and Impending Grace Stouts worthy of a trip! Southern Pines has Drunken Vigils, an annual Stout treat for those who can find it!
Moving ever closer to the ocean brings Representation without Collaboration from Deep River Brewing, a seasonal barrel aged Stout that has found some national love through the various Stout trading circles. From Kinston is Mother Earth Brewing who brews up Silent Night, a seasonal holiday themed barrel aged Stout. Last but not least is Smithfield based Double Barley, who brings us Steakcake Stout and Round after Round of Thrilla in Vanilla variant releases. Finally, full circle back to Farmville, where it all started for me. Duck Rabbit Brewery gives us their Duck Rabbit Milk Stout and their Rabid Duck Russian Imperial Stout!
One can’t write a blogpost about North Carolina Stouts without mentioning Olde Rabbit’s Foot, a Stoutstanding collaboration between Olde Hickory, Duck Rabbit, and Foothills. This was originally released some time ago in the early days of craft beer, and these three breweries got back together this year to release a 2017 vintage of Olde Rabbit’s Foot! This really captures the spirit of local, independent craft breweries and while these breweries are competitors, their willingness to collaborate is quite special.
That’s a quick tour around Stout Carolina! If there are any Stouts you think I missed and should check out, leave a comment and I’ll do my homework ☺! Thanks to NorthCraftolina for giving me the opportunity to write this Stoutpost – after you finish your time here, come on over to Stoutwhisperer.com and check out my blog. I’m also @stoutwhisperer on Instagram and Twitter, so check me out on those social media platforms as well!
Until next time, happy holidays and Merry Stoutmas!