Is there a better month for drinking stouts than February, when we are deep in the heart of winter? Fort George Brewery doesn’t think so, and for years now they have been celebrating Stout Month for the entire month of February, filling their taps with new stouts every week and featuring many guest stouts from others. It all culminates in their “Carnival of Stouts” known as the Festival of Dark Arts, “a full sensory immersion into art, craft, music, and macabre entertainment, with over sixty rare stouts all over the Fort George block.”
The idea of a month of stouts predated Fort George. Here’s the story from their page:
It started with a simple enough idea: take a versatile, yet underappreciated style like stout, brew as many as your boss will allow, and put them on tap all at once. This was the idea Jack Harris, co-founder of Fort George, had over twenty years ago as a young brewer working for McMenamin’s Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.
“Nobody else was doing it,” Jack explains. “I certainly wasn’t paying any attention to marketing or filling niches, it was sort of dumb luck on my part that folks really responded to the idea of celebrating a variety of stouts during the cold, dark days of February.”
Throughout the years, as he moved from town to town, he took the stouts with him. “It’s the people I’ve worked with since then that have taken the idea and run with it. That’s what makes Stout Month such a big deal,” he continues. “It gets more sophisticated, elaborate, and popular every year.”
Fort George isn’t the only Stout Month brewery, though they can claim the role for Oregon. In Boulder, Colorado, the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery has been holding their Stout Month for two and a half decades. Mountain Sun celebrates Colorado stouts:
Now in its 24th year, Stout Month has become an anticipated event among local beer connoisseurs. For the entire month of February, more than a dozen taps at all five Mountain Sun locations are devoted to local versions of the rich, thick and dark ale.
As usual several of our selections will be offered on a nitro faucet for your enjoyment. Please remember that pouring these beers takes added finesse and care. It may take a few minutes to prepare your pint. Perhaps you’d like a sample of something while you wait?
This year again, Stout Month will be a celebration of Colorado-brewed stouts ONLY. We’re proud to be part of the Colorado brewing community and what better way to show our support of other Colorado breweries than to purchase their stout and serve it at our locations.
They’ve posted a terrific lineup of 28 featured Mountain Sun stouts and 26 guest stouts. If you can get to the Boulder/Denver area this month stopping at one of their locations is a must.
Likewise if you’re on the northern Oregon coast this month, swing up to Astoria and check out Fort George’s amazing release schedule and lineup:
Sit down for a heady pour or test your tongue on a blind stout taster tray. New stouts are on tap every week (with 19! from Fort George this year).
Released February 1st
- May The Oats Be With You – oatmeal stout
- Tuesday’s Lunch – roasted peanuts and blackberries (PB&J stout)
- Coffee Girl – brewed with Brasilian Santa Luzia coffee beans from Coava Coffee Roasters
- From Astoria with Love – Russian Imperial Stout
- Voluptas – fig & oatmeal stout
- Matryoshka – bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout
- Matryoshka with Cocoa Nibs (+bottle release)
Released February 8th
- All Seeing Pie – bourbon barrel apple pie stout
- Viva La Stout – Mexican chocolate stout
- Polish’s Black Walnut Stout
Released February 15th
- Kaiju Stout – plum and black tea stout
- Keg Nog – milk stout spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla beans
- Barrel Aged May The Oats Be With You – aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels
Released February 19th
- Matryoshka with Cocoa Nibs & Raspberries (+bottle release)
- Subtle Hyperbole – Candy Cap mushrooms, molasses, graham crackers, and cinnamon
- Dark Matter – oatmeal stout aged in Pinot Noir and bourbon barrels
Released February 22nd
- Nostalgia Trip – sassafras, sarsaparilla, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean (root beer stout)
- Kentucky Girl – Coffee Girl aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels
- Itsy Bitsy Stout – dry Irish stout.
Fortunately Stout Month is spilling out beyond Boulder and Astoria. Portland’s Imperial Bottle Shop is joining in the fun with a number of stout-y events this month, after kicking it off on the 1st with an Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist tasting event:
- Their Heart of Darkness Imperial Stout Festival takes place Saturday, February 11
- February 14 they have a Crux Tough Love Imperial Stout vertical tasting, paired with Moonstruck chocolates
- On Thursday, February 23 they have a Fort George Cellared Stout Night.
Belmont Station is celebrating Stout Month all month long:
Help us celebrate “Stout Month” all month long as we turn four of our taps to the dark side throughout FeBREWary. We will be tapping stouts and imperial stouts from such great breweries as Alesong, Firestone Walker, Sound, New Holland, and others.
In Eugene, The Bier Stein‘s annual Starkbierzeit will this year be STOUTbierzeit all month long, starting on February 2:
This year’s Starkbierzeit will be known as STOUTbierzeit– we bet you can guess why. The winter solstice may be behind us, but there are dark days ahead. We are jumping on the Stout Month train (more like a pirate ship…) and pulling some kegs from the depths of our cellar for weekly tappings throughout the month.
Here’s what they have planned:
- February 2: A Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin vertical
- February 9: Fremont Dark Star flight
- February 16: 5 years of Deschutes Brewery’s The Abyss
- February 22: STOUTbierzeit finale featuring Founders Brewing
And while it’s not limited to stouts or strictly Stout Month themed, Lompoc Brewing‘s annual Black Out Beer Fest returns on Saturday, February 25. It features a rotating tap list of 25 dark beers, including stouts among the porters, coffee beers, and black IPAs.
A bit of searching led me to Seattle’s Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, holding Stout Month of their own. Their lineup of events:
- February 7: Chocolate and Coconut Infusion
- February 14: PB&J Infusion
- February 18: Beer release: Snarky Stout
- February 21: ‘Shroom Stout
- February 28: Bottle release of Razryadka, Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout Blend
For my part I intend to drink as many stouts in February as I can, since it’s not very likely I’ll make it to any of these myriad events.
How will you be celebrating Stout Month?