It is officially imperial stout season, ladies and gentlemen. The time has come for those boozy, brown brews to dominate your drinking habits while we all weather what will be a particularly long winter. I’m settling in with one of my favorites, AleSmith’s Speedway Stout.
You see, unlike those hyper fresh IPAs that set your Instagram ablaze, big craft brewers can compete, and even surpass, the smaller local shops when it comes to brewing a solid imperial stout. Freshness isn’t nearly as important (in fact, some stouts are better after aging), so the style holds up better while navigating the labyrinth of distribution. The end result is a wealth of imperial stout options at nearly every beer store.
Speedway Stout arrived at my local beer store in a dark, 11.2 oz. glass bottle, with a simple label featuring a pair of checkered racing flags. The beer pours inky black, somehow even darker than most stouts, with lots of fluffy brown head that is also deeper in color than most. The aroma is boozy and heavy, with tons of bitterness from roasted malt, chocolate, and of course coffee.
The taste takes a different turn as Speedway Stout pops with dark fruit flavors that give the beer a bit of a tang. The coffee is present and quite pleasing, teaming up with bitter chocolate and boozy heat for a lasting wave of flavor. Speedway Stout really isn’t sweet at all, and certainly can’t be categorized as syruppy or cloying like a lot of imperial stouts.
Stout season is officially off to the races, and you won’t do much better than AleSmith’s Speedway Stout among widely available imperial stouts.