Belfast Bay Brewing Company - McGovern's Oatmeal Stout
- ABV: 5%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 50
- Serving Temperature: 50-55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Pale, Flaked Barley, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat, Torrified Wheat, Caramalt, Black, Crystal
- Hops: Nugget, Perle
Named after former brewmaster Dan McGovern, who developed the recipe for Belfast as a somewhat drier version of one he crafted at his previous Lake St. George Brewing Company, McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout is a World Brewing Championships Silver Medalist, and is one dense, impenetrably dark brew. Seriously, even a flashlight held up to our glasses couldn’t be seen from the other side. Amazing. On the nose, roasty malt notes rule the day, with touches of smoke, dark chocolate, and scorched caramel. Intriguingly, we felt it possessed both a sweet and a dry impression in the aroma. This manifests on the palate as a really well-balanced stout, with a bit of residual sweetness to counter the bitter hops and roasted malts, which linger in the finish with a coffee grounds character. The oats add body and smoothness, making for one drinkable brew. Try pairing with sweet and creamy desserts, which will find complements and contrasts within the beer, or, for a main course, barbequed meats are hard to beat. A simple array of cheeses like Swiss, aged cheddar, and smoked gouda, served with brown bread is a good call too. Cheers!
Belfast Bay Brewing Company came to life in 1996 when long-time restaurant owner, Pat Mullen, decided it was time to make the jump into brewing. He installed a 7-barrel brewing system in his restaurant, The Barn, and built a bar with over 20 local microbrews on tap, including a mixture of both his own and others from around the state of Maine. He also hired Dan McGovern, formerly of Lake St. George Brewing, to serve as brewmaster for the new brewpub, which soon set about not only producing beer for their own taps, but also for sales to local bars, restaurants, and retail establishments.
1996 was still quite early in the craft beer revolution, but many more microbreweries would soon pop up throughout New England within a short span. Belfast’s first distributor had just four microbrews in their portfolio; a few years later, when Mullen decided to make a switch, there were 21. After getting, as he says, “lost in the cracks,” Mullen took the bull by the horns and hired sales reps and two vans to personally drive Belfast Bay beer around the state, making personal connections with pub owners and bartenders, and getting the beer directly into their hands. The strategy worked, and within three months they had sold more beer than the distributor had in the previous five.
Much has changed in the succeeding years. Pat sold his restaurant and original pub location (although he still enjoys visiting monthly and brewing a 5-gallon batch). Belfast’s focus is now on two very popular beers: McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout, and a malty red ale called Lobster Ale. For more info, visit www.belfastbaybrewing.com.
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