I’d like to let you in on a little secret. Every year when we start selling our Unafraid of the Dark beer cards, we tend to know five of the beers that we plan to brew, and the sixth – well, let’s just say that one of us gets some inspiration along the way, and we end up delivering something we are quite proud of! This year, we had lots of far out ideas – such as squid ink, banana cream pie, etc. But, we thought the best way to balance out this year’s somewhat offbeat series of beers was to craft something pretty straight to style. Something dark, of course, but also something that felt familiar and reminiscent of why we originally fell in love with dark beer many moons ago. As such, we are super excited to unveil this latest beer in the Unafraid of the Dark series – a Honey Oatmeal Stout!

Why do we love oatmeal stouts? Let me count the ways… First, oatmeal stouts are, as the name suggests, brewed with oats. When you add oats to a beer, they greatly enhance the mouthfeel. More specifically, oats make the beer super smooth and velvety. Second, oats also add a bit of sweetness, which we think balances out the roastiness from the grains. Finally, we think there is something so comforting, so ‘hanging out by a fire talking with your good friends’ type of feel to a good oatmeal stout. If you couldn’t tell, we just love this style of beer!

So let me tell you a few details about the oatmeal stout that we just brewed. As alluded to above, this beer is pretty much to style, except we decided to add 24 pounds of honey (from White Gate Farm in Epping, NH) to the fermenter once primary fermentation was complete. Half of the carbonation from this beer actually comes from the honey fermenting!

As always, our team drank a few pints of this beer… here are our tasting notes:
– Appearance: Beautiful burnt caramel colored head with the beer being a dark brown / black coffee color.
– Aroma: Lots of roast in the nose as well as a bit of dark chocolate. Slight undertones of licorice, raisin, and toffee sweetness.
– Taste & Mouthfeel: Full bodied and velvety smooth. When you take a sip, you will get roast and licorice up front with a finish of honey and malty sweetness. Lingering roasty and dark chocolate notes at the very end.
– Pairing: Since this is a slight earthiness to this beer, we thought it would pair well with mushroom risotto and chicken marsala. Keep an eye out around March 10/11 – we plan to make a food special designed to go with this beer — mushroom arancini stuffed with Timberdoodle cheese. Mmmmm. Sous Chef Michael thinks this beer would go nicely with poached pears. And, finally, for our 5th Annual Chocolate, Cheese, & Beer pairing, we paired this beer with a house-made marshmallow drizzled with a chocolate chili ganache, a Winnipesaukee Chocolates hand-crafted truffle made with our Plum Porter, and a hunk of Castle in the Clouds – a dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs. Or, just eat some chocolate with this beer- you won’t be disappointed! 🙂
– Serving glass: At the brewery we will be serving this beer in a 16-oz pub glass.
– Stats – ABV is 6.5%  and IBU is 30.

All in all, we love the way this beer came out. It’s roasty, velvety smooth, a touch sweet, and has a great aroma of dark chocolate. Honey Oatmeal Stout will be available starting Wednesday, March 9th, 2016. Come on over and give it a try!