Oatmeal (Stout) for breakfast
They say that oatmeal is one of the best breakfast foods – it’s healthy, packed with good carbohydrates, a little protein, and lots of fiber. It doesn’t taste very good though. That is, unless it’s in the form of an oatmeal stout! Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout from Anderson Valley Brewing Co. is one of the best examples of the style, highly recommended and well-reviewed by experts like Garrett Oliver, Randy Mosher and Beer Advocate’s Alstrom Brothers.
This is a thick, black stout with a creamy tan head, giving off strong coffee and dark chocolate aromas. It’s literally breakfast in a glass, with more roasted coffee and chocolate with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Usually, bitterness from beer comes from hops, but I’ve read that a larger amount of oats including in the brewing can make add some astringent bitterness as well. To me, that’s a good thing, as it gives a nice balancing finish to the initial burst of malt sweetness. I’ve found that some bottles can have a slight metallic aftertaste as well, but thankfully, it was absent this time. The mouthfeel is creamy and robust, almost like drinking thick chocolate milk. Lovely, really, and I don’t use that word often to describe a beer. The relatively low A.B.V. of 5.7% and the rich, full body mean that one of these is perfect with a hearty breakfast without having any adverse effects on the rest of your day. On the other hand, you are left feeling invigorated and satisfied.
I enjoyed the Barney Flats with a breakfast platter and a cup of coffee from Charlie’s Grind and Grill, one of my favorite holes-in-the-wall near my place. Bacon and eggs, all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes, skillet potatoes and a definitive oatmeal stout. What more can one ask for?
P.S. There is actually another substyle of stout called a Breakfast Stout. The ones brewed by Founders Brewing Company in Michigan are considered among the best beer of any style in the world. Unfortunately, because of ultra-limited releases and the distance, they’re practically impossible to get here in the Philippines unless personally shipped. One day, though.
P.P.S. The Shakespeare Stout from Rogue Ales is another epitome of the oatmeal stout style, and I actually like it a little bit more than AVBC’s Barney Flats. I’ll write about it soon, hopefully.