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In the world of stouts, Guinness is probably the most well known. The Irish beer is thick and heavy, and a perfect drink for those cold winter nights. However, there are many different stouts out there. In fact, the breweries in Alberta – and especially Edmonton – have been producing their own stouts that give even Guinness a run for its money. Situation Brewing offers two different stouts on their menu, the Iconic Milk Stout (brewed with lactose and Salvadorian coffee), and the Declan’s Irish Stout. Brewsters also has a delicious coconut porter that uses real coconut in the brewing process.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Hey, I thought we were talking about stouts, not porters.” Well, here’s the thing. There’s been a lot of debate around what the actual difference between a stout and a porter is, and it seems that no one can really come to a definitive conclusion. They’re both dark, heavy beers (usually black in colour) that are brewed with roasted malts. Stouts were even originally called “Stout Porters,” and the only real difference seems to be that stouts are stronger. Besides that, they are practically the same beer.

An interesting side note about roasted malt is that it doesn’t take much to produce the flavour and colour of stouts and porters. Only about 10-15% of the total grain that goes into a stout or porter is roasted, but it changes the beer dramatically.

The history of stouts and porters goes back to the 1700’s with a man named Ralph Harwood, a brewer out of London. One of his beers, which he called “Entire,” was especially popular among the porters who worked in the markets around the area, and the beer soon took on the name it’s known as now.  Another important milestone in the history of stouts and porters happened about 100 years later. In 1817, the malt roaster was invented, and for the first time black malts were available to brewers. Porters and stouts as we know them were officially a thing.

Stouts and Porters, with their robust and hearty taste, are fantastic beers for winter drinking.  So, if you’re looking for a good beer to sip on during these frigid months, be sure to stop in to Situation or Brewsters and give their stouts a try. You won’t be disappointed.

-Alexander Sorochan