“Golden Stout” sounds like something that can’t possibly exist.
But, just because something sounds impossible doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Golden Stouts are very real! You might even be able to snag one in your next beer delivery. But, what the heck are they?
To find out, we’ll take a look at a few of our favorite beers in the style to see if we can get this Stout debate sorted out.
Part One: In Brewing Color!
Just take a look at that sunshine hued brew! If someone set that pint in front you, you’d probably assume it was a Pilsner. And you’d be WAY off.
That’s a glass of Naughty Sauce Golden Stout from Noble Ale Works. Instead of getting all those stouty flavors from roasted malts, the brewers use coffee. Which might mess with your head a little. Picking up a pint that looks crushable and refreshing, only to be greeted by flavors and aromas of mocha and char is kind of confusing!
But, once it hits your lips, it’ll wash away any doubts you have.
Of course, not everyone agrees. The American Brewers Association lists 7 different types of Stout in their official style guidelines, and 6 of them must be either black or “dark brown to black.” The only exception is the British Style Imperial Stout, which can go as light as “dark copper,” according to the ABA.
Try telling that to Legal Remedy Brewing. Their white chocolate-laced World Court Mocha Blonde Stout tastes like a thick and decadent wintertime sipper, but it looks like something you might chug on the beach during spring break. Which you definitely shouldn’t do if you’re lucky enough to try it — this stuff is so rich, it could practically be called a Pastry Stout!
Part Two: Taste the Rainbow!
Appearance is far from the most important feature of a beer — it’s for drinking, not looking at!
Take a gander at Tony’s Humble Pie from Chicago’s Illuminated Brew Works. It’s so dark purple, it almost looks like a traditional Stout! That’s because they load it up with real blueberries, along with cinnamon, vanilla, and lactose. It really does taste like pie, but the roasty backbone and full mouthfeel practically scream Stout.
Which is no real surprise — illuminated draws inspiration from all kinds of desserts.
And, they’re not the only ones. Matchless Brewing makes an Imperial Golden Stout called Beerthday Cake that tastes like some kind of fancy, coffee-dunked Twinkie. They even wanted to put ‘Twinkie’ in the name but you know… trademarks.
In other words, breweries are getting just as creative with Golden Stouts as they are with more traditional Stout styles! Adding strange and exciting ingredients sometimes means ending up with interesting colors, but who cares?!
Part Three: Here to Stay!
The American Brewers Association might not recognize Golden Stout as an official style, but plenty of brewers across the country sure do. Even craft giants like Stone Brewing and New Holland have made their own versions!
We’ve also seen more Golden Stouts from smaller breweries lately, like Feeling My Stout from Full Circle Brewing, and the aptly named Contradiction Golden Stout from Alibi Ale Works. As lovers of innovation and explorers of the craft fringes, we couldn’t be happier about it.
Besides, if an IPA can be filled with fruit, why can’t a Stout be golden?
It can! With so many innovative and creative breweries popping up around the country and world, there’s no limit to what beer can be!