International Stout Day 2017: HopLore Brewing Makes A Strong Play

International Stout Day 2017: HopLore Brewing Makes A Strong Play

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Stout weather is coming – or maybe it’s always here. Winter seems to be the popular time to make and serve darker craft beers. Oatmeal stouts, Russian imperials, Baltic porters, milk stouts, even oyster stouts; these are the beers of late fall and winter, even if there is that large percentage of the population that loves drinking them all year long.

International Stout Day is being celebrated on the second of November this year. Stout Day has it’s own website, with a brief history of the style. The strong porter emerged from it’s parent style in the 1730s as bigger versions of the porter (think the little teapot “short and stout”), stout started out meaning brave, but came to mean strong. However, not every stout is a full-bodied mouthfeel; Guinness has been making their dry Irish stout since the late 1700s and it isn’t as big or strong as most other stouts, or even some porters.

On the other hand, certain stouts are very full, add lactose (milk stouts) or oatmeal (oatmeal stouts) tend to make the mouthfeel a bit smoother and bigger. Who knows why someone decided to brew a stout with oysters – or maybe there was a reason, the oyster stout is like the sandwich. As the years turned from 1800s to 1900s, one of the common things to eat while having your beer was oysters on the half shell. Like when the Earl of Sandwich as for his meat and bread to be served together, some brewer decided to make it easier and just put the oysters in the beer.

The flavors in porters and stouts run the gamut from delicate to bold, even chili peppers. image credit: Vine Pair

I’m not sure if you will be able to find an oyster stout in Indiana on Thursday the 2nd, but just about every other kind of stout will be on tap somewhere. I usually head to the Sinking Ship for the celebration, and they sure will have a nice list again this year – BA Narwhal out of Sierra Nevada, Wigsplitter from 3F, Prairie Artisan’s Bomb!, So It Happens to Be Tuesday from The Bruery, and more…. all those taps for all those thick roasty, knife and fork beers. It’s just too bad I will be out of town that day.

Thursdays are odd days for a beer holiday, but I guess the weekend will just have to start early this November. Triton Brewing is choosing to celebrate on Friday, the 3rd, but Metazoa in downtown Indy will have stouts on every tap on Thursday. Check to see what your local brewery or craft beer bar has going on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of that week.

In terms of featuring many great local stouts, HopLore Brewing in Leesburg is waiting until Saturday to regale us with their version of Stout Day. More than a dozen and a half stouts will be on tap, including a HopLore/Tin Man collaboration oatmeal stout. There will also be a HopLore/South Bend Brew Werks collaboration on SBBWs 500 batch – an imperial stout aged in Journeyman bourbon barrels. HopLore’s own Russian imperial will be served on nitrogen, and they will have at least five variants of this beer, from cherry to Tiramsu coffee to BBA with vanilla, served via Randall or other infusion.

HopLore is planning on a heck of a day to celebrate home brewing and stouts. image credit: HopLore Brewing

HopLore will also have guest stouts on from their neighbor breweries. Goshen, Wedgewood, Bare Hands, Crooked Ewe, Four Fathers…. a mess of northern Indiana breweries have been approached by HopLore asking which of their stouts they would like to feature. This sounds like a single destination pub crawl for all the best stouts around. Consider Uber that day.

But even more is going on at HopLore that day. Saturday the 4th also just happens to be Teach a Friend To Brew Day. This national home brew holiday is aimed at growing the brewing hobby amongst experienced drinkers and novices alike. HopLore has invited local home brew clubs to set up in the parking lot and have a brew day and demonstrations to help teach us all more about how our beers, stouts particularly, go from grain to great.

Take the first weekend of November to learn more about and drink more stouts. Then, maybe we can get rid of this silly notion that stouts and porters are winter beers only. Like the rare brewery that makes year round stouts or porters (Ivory from Brew Link, Thr3e Wise Men with their Hubbard’s and Craven Porter, Left Hand with the Nitro Milk Stout, Triton’s Deadeye, North Coast and the Old Rasputin), we should be enjoying these beers every month of the year.

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