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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The St Patrick's Day Stout Smackdown

Last week, we had our family St Patrick's Day dinner. This was the third incarnation of the event, and it has grown every year. We were joking that, next year, we may have to rent out a venue and charge a cover.

When my niece, Emily, hosted the first one, she made Irish stew, with Guiness stout as an ingredient. Last year, she asked if I would make the stout. So, I did, and the result was yummy.

This time, somebody had the idea of a family competition. I wish I could take the credit, but I really don't remember who had the idea.

So, I, my son, Joe, and my nephew, John, all agreed to make our own take the an Irish stout. Joe's wife, Tanya, decided to join in, and we all started recipe formulation.

One of John's friends, Will Siss, writes a beer column for our local paper. He agreed to be our guest judge.

 The four beers were all delicious, all stouts, and all really different. I tried to make a classic dry stout, and flavor it with coffee and chocolate. Joe made a stout fermented over oak chips. John flavored his stout with a bacon extract that he made. Tanya made hers with something called dirty chai seasoning.

I recorded the judging, and you can listen to it at

I thought Will did a wonderful job of judging the beers, and explaining his reasoning. The winner? My son, Joe, won for his oak stout. I feel no shame in losing to him. In fact, I would have been happy no matter who won. All four were that good.