The first day of summer is this week, and who doesn’t enjoy a cold, crisp beer on a hot afternoon? Beer lovers are accustomed to quaff down a golden Pilsner, a crisp Helles, a rustic Saison, or perhaps a bitter Session IPA. However, there are some dark beers that can be invigorating and refreshing. For those who take pleasure in darker beers, Guinness Draught is not the only option. Here are a few Summer Stouts to explore in Orange County.
Barley Forge is no stranger to the seasoned beer drinker in O.C. Along with some other tasty beers that most would consider perfect for summer, The Patsy holds its ground without missing a step. It even brought home a silver medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup. This stout is brewed with rye and toasted coconut to produce a balanced blend of spice and sweetness. Notes of dark chocolate chips, coffee grounds, and toasted coconut abound, and there’s a semisweet finish that falls unexpectedly short of cloying. Although some would say this beer does not qualify as a summer beer due to its 6.6 percent alcohol by volume, your taste buds will beg to differ.
Barley Forge, 2957 Randolph Ave, Costa Mesa
Shellmaker by Gunwhale Ales
Known primarily for eccentric and artisan rustic ales, Gunwhale’s Shellmaker is a welcome addition. Brewed with raw oysters (yes, oysters) this stout finishes dry after it exhibits notes of roasted grains, bitter cocoa, and slight brine. It sounds unusual, but the mixture of aromas and flavors complement each other nicely. After all, oysters and an Irish dry stout is one of the world’s best beer and food combinations. At 5.5 percent ABV, it will be difficult to only have one while a enjoying a summer evening in Gunwhale’s relaxing patio.
Gunwhale, 2960 Randolph Ave, Costa Mesa
Wall of Sound by Stereo Brewing Company
Awarded Gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival and Gold at 2018 San Diego International Beer Competition, Wall of Sound will satisfy your summer stout cravings. Stereo has lineup of classic styles on the board, and Wall of Sound is a fantastic example of an oatmeal stout. Brewed with flaked oats and a generous amount of roasted barley, the beer exhibits notes of coffee beans, brown sugar, and soft cocoa powder. Showcasing a silky smooth texture and a dry finish, this brew encourages another pint.
Stereo Brewing, 950 S. Vía Rodeo, Placentia.
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.