Beer of the Weekend #44: Stockyard Oatmeal Stout

The beer this weekend is Stockyard Oatmeal Stout brewed by the Stockyard Brewing Company of Chicago, Illinois.

Stockyard is a personal favorite of mine; the best stout I’ve ever tried. I discovered it shortly after moving to Huntington Beach two years ago. As with a few other choice brews — including Jumping Cow Amber Ale and Black Hart — I’ve only seen Stockyard sold at Trader Joe’s. It’s a shame, really.

Although I refrain from sampling beers I’ve already tried, I haven’t had Stockyard since March and have been craving a good, solid oatmeal stout for a while. Stockyard is just what the doctor ordered, and I’m curious to see what I think of it after all this time. Plus, there was another reason I picked it up tonight at the Hamilton and Brookhurst TJ’s. This week’s BotW, #44, coincidentally coincides with Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President. A Windy City brew to boot, I thought Stockyard would make a great choice this weekend.

Serving type: Six 12-ounce bottles.

Appearance: Poured an opaque black. A finger of dense head developed on top and dissipated to a creamy base.

Smell: Delicious dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.

Taste: The chocolate from the smell was less prominent in the taste and was replaced by the roasted coffee malts. A slight tingle of bitterness mellows as the pint warms. (I didn’t let it warm enough at first.)

Drinkability: Not as spectacular as I remember, but Stockyard is very smooth and tasty despite its simplicity. It’s a good brew to sit down and relax with after a day of slaughtering.

Fun facts about Stockyard Oatmeal Stout:

-Serving temperature: 50-55°F. I took the bottle out of the fridge and let it warm for about five minutes before pouring. I’ll let each bottle warm a little longer from now on.

-Alcohol content: Unknown.

-Stockyard is actually brewed by the Goose Island Brewing Company of Chicago. Mysteriously, though, Goose Island mentions nothing of Stockyard on its website (they’re too busy touting anything with “honk” in the name). I’m unsure what the silent treatment is all about. I think there may be a Stockyard Brewery bar/restaurant in Chi-Town, but other than that the Stockyard Brewing Company exists only in name.

-Stockyard pays tribute to two things: the former Union Stock Yards and the Irish immigrants who worked there. Located on Chicago’s South Side, the Union Stock Yards were the center of the US meatpacking industry. Opened in 1865, the yards processed 82 percent of the meat consumed in the United States by the turn of the 20th Century. By 1921, the yards employed 40,000 people, many of whom were probably South Side Irish. The yards were the focus of Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, which prompted the creation of the US Food and Drug Administration after publicizing the horrid conditions. The yards closed in the 1970s and the only thing that remains is the front gate, which has been deemed a historic landmark.

-Food pairings, via BeerAdvocate, include earthy cheeses, chocolate desserts, shellfish, and smoked meat.

The Quiet Man’s grade: A-.

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