Free State Brewing Company - Oatmeal Stout
- ABV: 5.7%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 25
- Serving Temperature: 50-55º F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Tulip
- Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Light & Dark Crystal, Carafoam
- Hops: Nugget, Northern Brewer, Fuggle
Few beers are as satisfying on a chilly day as a good oatmeal stout like Free State's. Do let this one come up from fridge temp though; a cool cellar temperature is the best for serving. This brew pours very dark brown, almost black, capped by a head of medium-brown foam. The aroma profile had us hooked immediately, as the malts and hops combine to create a complex and engaging character. Look for roasted chocolate and coffee notes, brown bread, touches of brown sugar and molasses, some underlying mild fruity esters, wisps of spices and mint, aromatic woods, and a hint of vanilla. Very smooth on the palate, as oatmeal stouts are famous for being, this brew is also deliciously balanced. Hop bitterness and prominent roasty notes meet a proper counterpoint in a touch of residual sweetness. The chocolate and coffee notes from the aroma are present here too, along with the rest of the complex tapestry of wood, earth, and herbal spice notes. This stout will make a great companion to barbecued meats as well as spicy Mexican mole dishes. Dessert pairings are also a good call; coffee ice cream with a chocolate drizzle, as well as good ol' chocolate cake a la mode are high on our list. Cheers!
Back in the 19th century, Kansas was host to as many as 113 breweries – until the state became the first to introduce alcohol prohibition into their constitution, wiping out the brewing culture that was so popular among the German immigrant population. It was the discovery of this history that inspired the brewing passion of Free State founder Chuck Magerl. It may also run in the blood; his grandfather brewed illegally during Prohibition, ending up in Leavenworth for a time. After studying brewing at UC Davis' top-notch brewing program, Chuck came back to Kansas where breweries were still prohibited. After successfully lobbying legislators in Topeka to change the laws, Chuck opened Free State in 1989, becoming the first (legal) brewery in the state since 1880.
Currently, Free State, which is still owned and helmed by Chuck Magerl, is one of a multitude of Kansas breweries that have opened in the intervening years, but they certainly remain among the best due in no small part to their excellent brewing staff. Current brewmaster, Steve Bradt, has been with the brewery since 1989, and brings a wealth of experience to bear in crafting Free State's delicious beer portfolio. He's judged at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, and has been a member of the Brewers Association's Board of Directors. Their Head of Downtown Brewing, Geoff Deman, is a Lawrence native who's been brewing at Free State since 2002, and also has GABF and WBC judging credits to his name, along with various awards.
In addition to providing their community with excellent beer, Free State supports their community with numerous events and charity fundraisers each year, including the annual 41-mile Brew to Brew Run in support of the fight against cystic fibrosis, which starts at Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company and ends at Free State in Lawrence, KS. To learn more about the brewery and their downtown Lawrence brewpub, call 'em up at 785-843-4555 or visit www.freestatebrewing.com.
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