Category Archives: stout

Places to Go – The Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company, Fairfax City, VA

Word had come across the beer channels that a new brewery was going to be opening in the near future in Fairfax City. Stylish and functional, it was going in near the Safeway in Old Town Fairfax and so I scheduled a time on the calendar to go after they had their soft opening the week before last.

The Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company opened to fanfare in Fairfax City. It claims to be the first nanobrewery and brewpub in the city. (What makes it a nanobrewery when they have six of their own plus Right Proper Brewery and another brewery is a mystery…) When I arrived the second night (I will explain), they had a good crowd, mostly runners and it took a while of waiting to belly up to the bar and put in an order for a Black Squirrel Oatmeal Stout. When it came, it was the right color and it was a bit cold, so I looked for a place it could work my magic on the elixir.

I guess I did a little too good of a job, because it had a notably flat taste that comes from being too dependent on oatmeal and a little weak in its stout configuration. The flat taste just kind of ruined it.

Black Squirrel ABV: 4.7 Chubby Squirrel Brewing Co.

On top of that, it was not particularly cold, which is OK for a stout, but it came out of the same tap as all of the other beers and I am wondering if all them are held at the same temperature.

The decor of the place is pretty good for a brewery. They have a long lot and I had a feeling they had a more of a design that was equal sides. Just the way certain things were arranged, like the register (it is tucked into the corner in the rear), the big chalk board (this thing is really big and you can’t ready the whole thing) and the restrooms are more arranged for a square rather than a long rectangle.

Some of the things they got right…
…And some of the things they did not.

Now, why did I go there two nights instead of one, you might be asking yourself, if I had successfully scheduled a time to go? Well, because the first time I went, it was closed on Tuesday at 9:00pm. Locked tighter than a drum. It was also closed on Monday and Wednesday, so Thursday (the day I scheduled) was the first night I was able to go. It is not unusual for a brewery to be closed on Monday, or even on a Tuesday, when they are in a quiet area (rural or suburban, it is kind of expected) but a brewery that is in a busy area, a busy beer drinking area, that is closed three of the seven days is not a good indicator that they have thought this out.

Like so many businesses, this one has a couple of hills to surmount before it will be successful. I will be going back to sample the rest of their beer, but I don’t think it will be much better than the Black Squirrel Oatmeal Stout. I will give this brewery two years on my calendar and if they can turn it around, then we will have a good brewery in town. If not, they will be looking to let the space.

Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company

Monday – Wednesday: Closed

Thursday & Friday: 2-9PM

Saturday: 11AM-9PM‍‍‍

Sunday: 12PM-6PM‍‍‍

World Wide Stout – Dogfish Head Brewing Company

Nothing says winter like a nice warm stout. The basic stout is a great remedy to everything that is wrong with winter. The blistering cold, wind whipping, storm intensity…you have the idea.

Stouts have a way of saving the day on so many occasions, and a really good stout is always a fine treat. So, when I walked into the Dogfish Head Brewing Company to face the mob and decided to check out their World Wide Stout, I thought I would have a nice warm brew on a chilly night. Wrong. But not for the reasons you think.

World Wide Stout by Dogfish Head Brewing Company (www.dogfish.com/front) seeks to become the firm’s numero uno stout. Though the keep it refrigerated, you hardly notice the cold when you pick it up. When I looked to find its ABV, it listed it as between 15-20%. That’s right, even they don’t know what it is supposed to be – they have a range! It has to be one of the only profession brews to do that! Its aroma is of a really strong stout, but it has alcohol bubbling up through the center of it.  Make no bones about it, it is alcohol friendly. This beer is close to sizzling. In terms of taste, it is really simple – alcohol with strong stout – in that order. The alcohol is only for the first few minutes. As you get to drinking it, it simmers down and you can taste a bit of the stout, tempered by some of the additional flavors. A tempest of dark fruit comes to mind.

A wickedly wild stout that reaches for the stars – and matches a few of them!

So, when the weather turns cold and its getting bitter, turn to World Wide Stout. It could be the last thing you will do, but it will be memorable.

Skal!

The Night Mare Stout by Brew Republic Bierwerks

I am not one for bad dreams. They come and go just like the good ones (when you have them at all!) and they are pretty infrequent when you string them all together. But they still exist and a couple of them in a short period of time can be a bit disconcerting.

The Night Mare Stout by Brew Republic Bierwerks

So, when a small brewery rolls out a stout with the name The Night Mare, I do tend to sit up and pay attention. The Night Mare Stout by Brew Republic Bierwerks (https://brewrepublic.beer/) in Woodbridge, VA is the sort of beer that reaches out and mildly grabs you and says “I am here so you had better pay attention to me.” Oh, and let’s get something straight, it is not “Beerworks” or “Bierworks” (Are you listening Untappd?). It is “Bierwerks”, thank you very much!

So, what is the deal with stouts? You might think that all stouts are brewed the same way, but there is some variation in the way that a stout is attained. One of the ways is that the grain that is used to attach the tasty parts together. In most forms of stout, brewers use barley to hold the brew together. Over time this has gotten easier to do because brewing with barley simpler and has gotten easier.

However, there are a number of other grains that serve the same purpose. The problem is that you can not do everything with barley because barley is not grown all over the world. Wheat, rye and oats (or oatmeal) can all fill the bill at a lower cost than barley with wheat at a steadfast number two and oatmeal bringing up the rear.

The Night Mare Stout is an oatmeal based stout that carries this brew through to its logical conclusion. Being an oatmeal stout, it does this with a different taste than a standard stout. The oatmeal stout is often accused with being weak, but I think in the case of Night Mare Stout, it offers a decidedly different taste and that is a really enjoyable one. It is lighter and less heavy than its barley and wheat relatives, but it holds its flavor in good form. It is really worth taking a taste.

And there won’t be any bad dreams.

I gave it 4 stars on – even though they had misspelled it!

Skal!