We can't think of any category of beer that is more closely associated with a single brand than the venerable stout. Of course, there's nothing wrong with Guinness. It's just not the only stout out there. There are stouts out now that are even "gooder," to reference an old Guinness ad campaign, and they're all made in the United States. These substyles include some of the richest and most exciting beers in the domestic craft scene. Stouts have always been famous for their dark hue and their roasty flavors and aromas, but U.S. brewers also add oatmeal, chocolate, and even oyster shells to provide that extra oomph. This St. Patrick's Day, challenge yourself to try a different kind of stout. And feel free to go ahead and order a shot of Irish whiskey with it (Jameson or Bushmills will be just fine). Some traditions still can't be topped.
Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
In a big, high alcohol stout, additions of chocolate are a no-brainer. There are tons of breweries out there making chocolate stouts, but New York's Southern Tier makes our favorite. Imperial Choklat marries the high roast, power, and complexity of an imperial stout with copious amounts of Belgian bittersweet chocolate. The result is as rich and decadent as a great dessert. [stbcbeer.com]