Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ask the Beer Guy: Porters, Stouts, and Holiday Gifts

Brant Schweinsberg, our beer manager and resident beer expert, takes questions from our Facebook fans and Twitter followers about all things craft beer. This week, he tells us the difference between two of our favorite types of beer, and even lets us in on his Christmas wish list. 

What is the difference between Porters and Stouts?  Are they the same thing? - @TheKegTap

Stouts and Porters may not be the same beer, but their history is certainly intertwined. In the 18th century, Porters were a blend of brown ale, pale ale, and "stale" ales or matured ales. The name was derived from the English porters that favored the stronger beer.

Stouts evolved from attempts to mimic the popular porter style of beer. Once called Stout Porters or Extra Stout Porters, brevity won the day and the name became just Stout. Stouts tend to be fuller, creamier, and a bit stronger (in general). Think of stouts as the feistier, more rambunctiousness cousin of the porter. 
I have lots of beer lovers on my holiday gift list this year…any good ideas?

First and foremost, BEER!  Beer lovers, love getting beer. There are tons of great holiday gift sets out. These gifts sets often include a bottle or two and glassware.  In the past I've purchased sets from Chimay, Duvel, and Unibroue, just to name a few.  

Glassware is also a great gift to give, and I'm not talking about pints or mugs.  I'm talking about good quality snifters, tulips, chalices, or cervoises. I once got a set of Stone Imperial Russian Stout snifters. I have them to this day.

Books always make great gifts. If the beer drinker in your life is a budding homebrewer, I recommend The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. It is the first homebrewing book I picked up.  Also, The Companion was recently released. If I remember correctly, Brooklyn Brewery is releasing a gift set that includes a bottle of Companion and the book itself.  No beer library is complete without a few of Michael Jackson's works.

If anyone is looking for gift ideas for a certain beer manager, I gladly accept beer.

There you have it! If you have any questions for Brant, you can email

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