Despite February’s inevitable wintry weather, dark beer enthusiasts are flocking in full force to Mountain Sun’s family of brewpubs for Stout Month. This is the 24th consecutive year that the Boulder-born empire has celebrated the month of February by showcasing its own house-brewed stouts, and since 2012, it has featured brews from other Colorado breweries, too. Every day, a rotating roster is on offer. Fans are so enthralled by the variety that some have created a ranking site (ilovestoutmonth.com), to track their favorites and compare tasting notes.
Speaking of which, we’d like to talk about our favorite Stout Month brew thus far: Ska Brewing Company’s Autumnul Molé Stout. The Durango-based brewery looked to a Mexican/New Mexican flavor profile for this subtle, light-bodied brew (5.8 percent ABV). Spices mingle with an infusion of cacao for a silky smooth, chocolatey brew that is neither too sweet nor overpowering. The chocolate notes are perfectly balanced by the delicate blend of three chiles: ancho, guajillo, and Hatch, which impart the subtle, vegetal taste of the peppers with hardly any spicy heat. The result is an understated masterpiece so sippable this reporter indulged in two tall ones.
As always with Stout Month, there’s no telling how long the Molé will last, as kegs are poured until they tap out. Assistant General Manager Andrew Fimpich tells us this one likely won’t make it through Friday lunch at the mothership location on Pearl Street in Boulder, but each location does carry the same lineup at more or less the same time. Try calling your local Mountain Sun watering hole ahead of time to make sure this stellar brew is still on tap—or pick up a bomber at area liquor stores.
Bonus Brews: Three More To Look Forward To
Here are a few of the other brews on rotation this year that Fimpich and I are particularly excited about:
- The forthcoming Imperial Chocolate Almond Stout by Golden’s Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. Fimpich says Cannonball made the rich, creamy dark ale to celebrate it’s own anniversary. Considering that Cannonball brewers Brian Hutchinson and Jason Stengl are former Mountain Sun brewers themselves, we expect their special creation to be top-notch. “I can only imagine they put a lot of love into that keg,” Fimpich says. It clocks in at boozy 9.6 percent ABV.
- Funkwerks, Inc. is offering up a compelling new concoction: Orange is the New Stout. The 6.5 percent ABV Belgian-style stout is brewed with orange peel and hazelnuts and is poised to be an orange-with-chocolate-lover’s dream.
- Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, usually an exclusive purveyor of sour and wild-fermented brews, has ventured into bourbon-barrel-aged stout territory for the first time this year with the Stout Month Private Reserve Imperial Stout. At 13.2 percent ABV, the special brew is nine months in the making. Since it’s still yet to be tapped, it will be as new to the Mountain Sun crew as it is to you—but given Crooked Stave’s stellar reputation, the brew should be a great one.
Visit any one of the five Mountain Sun locations in Boulder, Longmont, and Denver to experience the stout month fun for yourself.