Brewery: Anderson Valley
City: Boonville, California
Beer: Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Style: Oatmeal Stout
Notes: Creamy, Smooth, Dark Chocolate, Mocha, Raisins, Thick,
After taking a trip to Belgium, we’re returning to West coast with this oatmeal stout from Anderson Valley Brewery in Boonville, California. Anderson Valley Brewery is located in Mendocino County and was founded in 1987. Besides their excellent award winning beers, Anderson Valley is renowned for their environmentally conscious efforts. They have installed the largest photovoltaic array north of San Francisco, which provides half of the brewery’s electrical needs. In fact, on the cap of their beers, it says “Brewed by Solar Power.”
Their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout was the first Anderson Valley beer to win the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 1990. It has continued to get numerous awards and I completely agree with the judges’ decisions.
The beer pours a very dark and thick almost-black with a brown and firm head. It is impossible to see through this beer, yet the light turns the edges an almost gold color.
A strong aroma of malty, mocha-chocolate goodness arises from the foaming pour. Hints of raisins, plums, and licorice also come through.
After being very intrigued by this bold, thick and dark beer, I am rewarded with a very pleasant first sip. Despite its dark color, stouts generally have a very smooth and creamy taste. If you’re a Guinness fan, you may realize that despite its dark brown color, Guinness actually is a very light and smooth beer to drink. In fact, for many beginning craft beer drinkers out there, I would highly suggest trying some stouts the next time you experiment with different beers. Many friends of mine who don’t like strong hoppy beer tend to love the smoothness of stouts.
Continuing on with the taste, the chocolate and mocha flavors are very distinct and the texture feels very thick and creamy. After I finish my sip I am not left with a hoppy bitter taste in my mouth, but rather a subtle roasty aftertaste lingers. This is extremely similar to the aftertaste of coffee. This beer is extremely drinkable and pleasant – although I wouldn’t recommend it as a session beer. This beer is great with desserts of all types – especially chocolate cakes, cheesecake, cookies, and ice cream. This is especially the area where I believe beer definitely beats wine. Imagine drinking wine with ice cream. I can’t imagine how that would work, yet the combination of this stout and ice cream is heaven.
You can easily find Anderson Valley beers at many super markets, Whole Foods, and Bev Mo. Go out and drink one soon – and then let us know what you think!
I hope everyone is enjoying the Holidays and get ready for the 10th beer of Christmas!