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Step Up to Stout

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While my heart longs for lager-worthy warmer weather, winter has been reluctant to loosen its icy grip. With that in mind, pulling the tab on a few cans of stout seems more appropriate. All three of this week's entries weigh in at 8 percent alcohol or more, providing hefty protection against another freeze.

Epic Son of a Baptist Coffee Stout, $2-$3

The creamy tan head covering this "two shades darker than ebony" brew from Denver fades quickly. The aromas are like an iced nitro latte blended with sweet mocha. A bit of char comes through on the palate that's filled with strong, lightly bitter coffee flavors and dark chocolate covered caramel. Fruity notes of raisin and cherry come through on the finish.

Fort George Cavatica Stout, $2-$3.80, 16 oz.

A dense, ebony pour topped with a three finger, mocha head that shows good persistence, this American double stout hails from Astoria, Oregon. There's a smooth blend of hops backing the sweet malt aromas, along with chocolate, wheat bread and a touch of tobacco. Toasty malt follows on the palate, with creamy espresso, bittersweet chocolate and resiny hops. Excellent take on the style.

Fremont Dark Star Oatmeal Stout, $2.50-$3

This Seattle-based brewery weighs in with a stout that is as dark as night, sporting a thick, porous head that collapses quickly leaving a honeycomb lacing. An earthy bitterness colors the chocolate cake and toffee aromas backed by a hint of ginger. You get some expected booziness with the flavors that include milky malt, cocoa, anise and toasted oats. The silky finish lingers on and on.

—David Kirkpatrick

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