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Three stouts to rekindle your love for winter


Everyone who drinks across the style spectrum has one type of beer they rarely hit on. For me, it’s imperial stouts. Don’t get me wrong, I dig malts so chewy you can stand a spoon up in them but I’ve always thought drinking an imperial stout required the right mindset, or perhaps environment. I don’t come home from work on a “wintery” (read: sunny) Phoenix Tuesday afternoon with the breeze blowing through my living room window and think, “Damn, I need an imperial stout.” Arizona’s more wheat beer country—or blonde, pale, saison, pilsner, etc. My unfortunate geographic location coupled with seasonal drinking tendencies is adversely affecting my imperial stout intake this time of year. I’m fed up. Perhaps I should move.

I’m serious: Every time I drink a stellar imperial stout, I realize what I’m missing. Men have done more bizarre things for the sake of drink than moving to a cold region, right?

This weekend, I reluctantly screwed the top back onto my growler of California common and popped open three convincing arguments to start researching home listings in Catherine the Great territory. Exhibit A: Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer, a 10% monster that blends exceptionally rich chocolate and roasted malts with vanilla, dark fruits and wisps of smoke. Exhibit B: The 11. 2% Beachwood Tovarish and its incredible pairing of dark chocolate and espresso notes. Exhibit C: SweetWater Happy Ending, a 9% stout that offers stone fruit and citrusy hops wrapped in a shroud of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee.

The verdict: I’m seriously missing out. Or, I need to change my style consumption habits.

What styles do you end up missing this time of year?


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at

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