Any day that ends with stout in your glass is a fine one, indeed. Finer still if that day is the first Thursday in November: International Stout Day. You can thank beer writer Erin Peters (aka The Beer Goddess) for this fantastic holiday, and since Peters hails from the Golden State, what better way to pay tribute than with one of California’s finest: Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The beer pours out of the bottle an enticing midnight black, and kicks up a mocha-tinged head of rocky foam. Take a big sniff and let the aroma of ground espresso entice you. Take a sip and discover hints of bakers cocoa and smoky char nestled between roasted malts and piney hops. It’s a combination that’s never gone out of style, from a brewery that’s managed a similar feat. Which is nothing to scoff at, considering the milestone Sierra Nevada is celebrating this month — for that, turn to page 33. As for the Narwhal, you’ll find that 10.2% ABV beast at all your better liquor stores.
Michael J. Casey