Beer Town: Stay stout this winter with these beers

Terrapin and Jittery Joe's worked together to develop the coffee profile in Terrapin's Wake-n-Bake stout. Courtesy of Terrapin Beer Co

Combined ShapeCaption
Terrapin and Jittery Joe's worked together to develop the coffee profile in Terrapin's Wake-n-Bake stout. Courtesy of Terrapin Beer Co

The Wake-n-Bake Off returns to the Terrapin Taproom in Athens Feb. 6, featuring local restaurants showcasing recipes that feature Terrapin’s Wake-n-Bake coffee oatmeal imperial stout.

Wake-n-Bake has been one of Terrapin’s most beloved and longest running seasonal beers, and Terrapin founder and brewmaster Brian “Spike” Buckowski reminisced in a recent phone call about how he created the earliest version while he was working at 5 Seasons Brewery in Sandy Springs.

At 9.4% alcohol, with a jolt of caffeine, Wake-n-Bake was among the earliest and most audacious coffee beers. But, the recipe — flaked barley, flaked oats, roasted barley, chocolate and black malts, and Nugget hops — seems rather tame compared with the current spate of gonzo adjunct beers.

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“The last Moo-Hoo (milk stout) we made was chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel, so we’re doing some of that, too,” Buckowski said. “If consumers are buying those types of beers, then go ahead. Who am I to tell people what to put in their beer? Is a lot of that stuff gimmicky? Absolutely. But, if it gets people into your taprooms, and makes you money, go ahead.”

As for his all-time favorite stouts? “Old Rasputin, without a doubt,” he said. “And, one of my top 10 favorites is Shakespeare stout.”

The cold days of February call for strong, dark beers like stout. Here are five to try:

Burnt Hickory Big Shanty — This year-round graham cracker stout from Kennesaw is 9% alcohol, and brewed with honey, cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs. It’s both sweet and strong, with pronounced hop bitterness. It makes a fun pairing with desserts.

Monday Night Vanilla Dark Subject Matter — The latest chapter in the Dark Subject Matter series is vanilla. The 12% alcohol American imperial stout is brewed with Munich and chocolate malts, and the lingering taste of vanilla beans works exceptionally well with that combo.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian imperial stout — One of my all-time favorite beers, Old Rasputin is at once malty, roasty and bittersweet, with notes of dark fruit, dark chocolate and black coffee. At 9% alcohol, it’s strong, but delightful.

Rogue Ales Shakespeare stout — At 5.7% alcohol, this English-style oatmeal stout is not as big as the rest of the beers on this list. But, with chocolate and Munich malts, rolled oats, roasted barley and Cascade hops, it’s an influential classic that’s available year-round in bottles, and on nitro draft.

Wild Heaven Czary Not Czary Russian imperial stout — This big, black and tan, brewery-only release is made with roasted barley, Golden Promise and chocolate malts, and Noble hops. At 9.5% alcohol, it’s dangerously drinkable, with toffee, coffee, burnt orange and herbal notes. Grab some soon, before it’s all gone.

EVENT

Wake-n-Bake Off tickets, $20, include a limited-edition mug, one pour of Wake-n-Bake stout and food tastings from local restaurants. A portion of proceeds benefit Giving Kitchen. terrapinbeer.com/events/wake-n-bake-off. Terrapin’s Atlanta brewery and taproom, located at the Battery, will hold its Wake-n-Bake Off Feb. 27.

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