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Like many, my love affair with stouts started with a draft Guinness. But in Colorado’s beer mecca, local stouts reign supreme—especially during Stout Month in February, a celebration of the inkiest ales started by Boulder’s Mountain Sun Pub in 1993. Gaining their dark color from heavily roasted malt (grains, usually barley), stouts tend to have a rich, coffeelike taste with a good dose of bitterness. That means they stand up well to potent flavorings, such as chocolate or warm spices, and in some cases, lactose, which gives Colorado-made classics like Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro and Mountain Sun’s Korova Cream Stout a signature creaminess and sweetness.
If you can’t make it to one of the four Mountain Sun locations in Boulder and Longmont to play Stout Month bingo—they’re tapping 24 in-house stouts over the course of the month—there’s plenty of other local breweries pouring mighty dark malts. Here are five we have our eyes on this year.
Fuel your Stout Month celebrations at home with WeldWerks Brewing Co.’s Cuvée de Chocolatier gift box, which includes three 500-milliliter bottles of Imperial stout, all aged in bourbon/rye barrels with cacao nibs and infused with the flavors of caramel, coconut, or strawberry. Online sales for the $59 set have closed, but folks can still purchase it at WeldWerks’ Greeley taproom through February 18. (Also, if you missed WeldWerks’ collaboration with Our Mutual Friend Brewing, Baseglamp, a marshmallowey stout with smoked malt from Fort Collins–based Troubadour Maltings, you can still find it on draft at the latter’s taproom in RiNo.)
Spice Trade Brewery & Kitchen in Greenwood Village is known for its globally inspired beers that are often scented with heady herbs and spices. This month, the brewhouse is releasing three new stouts: a sweet Tiramisu Milk Stout, a coffee-infused “dirty” version of its classic Chai Milk Stout, and for Valentine’s Day, an Imperial golden stout inspired by red velvet cake. Stop in for dinner—the food menu is currently centered around Pan-Asian small plates—and polish your meal off with a stout for dessert.
Those familiar with the origins of chocolate know that the Maya didn’t eat it in decadent bars; they drank the stuff brewed in hot water with cinnamon and chile pepper. Luki Brewery taps into that flavor profile with the Mayan Gold Stout, which gains its subtle heat from chile de árbol. Sitting at 40 IBU, the beer has a bitterness that helps balance out its other sweet-leaning flavors. The Mayan Gold Stout is currently available on draft at Luki’s taproom in Arvada, as well as to-go in 32-ounce crowlers.
Chad Moore and Jordan Fink of Woods Boss Brewing Company are going all in this Stout Month, with two new releases to bolster their existing lineup of dark beers. The Hisolda Irish Coffee Cream Stout is meant to taste exactly like the caffeinated cocktail: bold real-bean coffee flavor, subtle notes of whiskey, and a generous amount of lactose to emulate an Irish coffee’s rich, creamy texture. If you’re craving something fruitier, though, there’s also the new Sakura Chocolate Cherry Stout, which uses real cherry purée.
If you like your beers hot (i.e., high in alcohol), head to this Glendale brewery, which has been open for over five decades, for its biennial Legend of the Liquid Brain series. The bottles of bourbon-barrel-aged Imperial stout, which are available in 2019, 2021, and 2023 vintages, stand at a whopping 12 percent ABV, so it’s meant for sipping, not chugging. Through Stout Month, Bull & Bush will also carry 17 other house and guest brewery stouts, so there are plenty of options for a lighter drink, too. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, order the Coffee Blueberry Stout Burger with, among a couple wacky toppings, syrup made from Bull & Bush’s Stonehenge Stout.