Beer Rediscovered Winter 2017

Sierra Nevada Stout – Sarah Fuller

Sarah Fuller
Manager of Local 44’s bottle shop

Sarah Fuller, manager of Local 44’s bottle shop in West Philly, knows that when the weather changes, people begin to crave a certain type of brew. “You start to feel that nip in the air and all of sudden people want a darker beer.” So that’s why in the dead of winter, Fuller reaches for Sierra Nevada Stout. “It has everything you want in a stout. It’s big, bold and roasty with a little chocolate in there, and yet it has a boatload of hops to keep it bright on the back end. So you can just kill a six pack.”

This stout was among the first beers Sierra Nevada made when the brewery was still a tiny operation. Thirty years later, it hasn’t changed much – it doesn’t need to. Fuller says, “You have breweries nowadays where the stout they produce has all this weird stuff in there, chili peppers, vanilla – yet their base beer is probably their best beer.”

Those aggressive variations on the style, and our never-ending search for the newest trend, may have led some craft drinkers to overlook this stout, but Fuller believes Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman recognizes the value of consistency. “He always seems to be slightly a step ahead. For me, Sierra is one of those breweries that has remained on top since the 80s. If you were going to build a time capsule and go back, Sierra would be the quintessential American brewery.”

Though Sierra Nevada Stout is a year-round offering, this is the time of year for Fuller when the style shines. “I’m from Upstate New York where you have to deal with three feet of snow all the time, so this is my snow blower beer.” Brewed with Bravo, Cascade and Yakima hops, craft drinkers may have forgotten that this beer has more of a bite than your typical winter offering. “No one makes a hoppy stout like this anymore.”

At 5.8% ABV, Sierra Stout is a reliable and consistent brew you can enjoy again and again during these dark and dreary months. “It’s a beer you can just keep drinking,” says Fuller. “It’s not a stout that’s going to hold you down.”

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