I will admit, I am a little nervous about posting this. I’m sure I’ll hear from many readers on both sides of the debate. But here goes: I embrace my inner dark side.
Whoa! Are you a Vampire or a Sith?
No. But I do drink dark beers all throughout the year. Meaning, I drink porters and stouts even in the hot Central Texas summers.
When it is 100+ degrees in Austin, I don’t think twice about ordering a dark beer. Sure, I also drink hefeweizen, IPA, and pale ale, but I never hesitate when ordering a stout and think, “Wait a minute, it’s July in Central Texas, are you sure you want a stout?!?”
I guess last week’s Snowmageddon 2010 in Austin is what made me analyze our love, fear, and seasonal cravings for dark beers.
I think we crave darker beers when it’s colder because they evoke those darker nights of winter, and the companion we seek is an ale that has the tone, mood, and in some cases, the alcoholic warmth, to buffer the frost. A dark beer, whether it be a porter or stout, often has a variety of malts and hops that weave a complex flavor throughout the drinking experience. We seem to be more accepting of complexity when we have nothing to do but sit inside by a fire and contemplate life, allowing whatever beverage to carry us down the road of introspection. It is in this matrix of flavor that we find comfort.
Seeing the Light
I’ll order 512’s Pecan Porter in July or Live Oak’s Hefeweizen in December. Because it comes down to drinking beers that are full of flavor and in some cases, ordering a beer that might pair well with whatever you are eating. One of my favorite beer/food combinations is imperial stout with chocolate cheesecake–enjoyed in August or January.
Porters and stouts can exist in a standard line-up and don’t have to be a seasonal offering for our Central Texas craft beer drinkers. Besides, if you’re not sure about drinking a porter or stout outside in July, then take it inside where the air conditioning will be set to 45 degrees.
Our Pennybacker Porter should do well here in Austin and I’m also looking forward to introducing Austin to its first 100% organic robust American stout soon thereafter. Maybe we’ll introduce it in the dead of summer.
So when that warm weather hits, embrace your inner dark side!
Photos by pasukaru76 and WTL photos