Hill Farmstead Brewery operated by Shaun Hill in Greensboro, Vermont is one of the most highly praised breweries in the craft beer circle. Their beers, from juicy Pale Ales to tart oaky Saisons, are clamored for by beer geeks across the U.S.A and internationally. One of their more elusive beers, Ann (a wine barrel aged honey Saison), was recently released for only the second time in bottles since they’ve been in operation.
The milk or sweet stout style is one I don’t overindulge in, partially because of their sweeter nature but I certainly don’t mind enjoying one every once in a while. The latest one I found was from 4 Hands Brewing Co. out of Saint Louis, Missouri called “Chocolate Milk Stout.” As you can imagine, this beer has the addition of cacao nibs in the barrel.
Prairie Artisan Ales, the relatively new brewery out of Oklahoma, has made a splash in the craft beer community with their farmhouse-style saisons and stouts. In April of this year, they successfully funded their Kickstarter for 100% barrel aged beers. Most notably, their Imperial Stout Prairie Bomb aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers garnered a nearly perfect score on BeerAdvocate (currently 99/100).
Its return has been three years in the making, a Belgian-style Tripel aged in oak wine barrels and virgin oak barrels inoculated with two barrels of Splinter Gold (2010) and infused with Brettanomyces. Phew. Troegs says this “is a highly-carbonated, bone-dry wild ale boasting a rich Bret ‘funk’ married with lush vanilla, toasted coconut, and oaky tannins.” This is the only Splinter beer I’ve yet to try, I’m hoping it’s as good as they say it is.
As we approach what I consider to be the day of stout beer, St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to remove from my beer fridge and sample the Big John Imperial Stout from Goose Island. To help combat the 11.5% ABV, Goose Island added cacao nips to this beer which should add some nice chocolate notes.