Sitting at home in Boston over Christmas, getting pummeled by snow while celebrating the holidays, I could not help but be drawn to the heartiness of the many stouts that my parents had in the fridge. They had an impressive collection of homebrews from neighbors and relatives, as well as a number of New England brews. With my brother at college in Vermont, Otter Creek has been a family favorite for the past few years, as we always enjoy some connection, however tangential, to the beer we choose.
So when I saw Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout–an organic beer that comes from Otter Creek–in DC I had to try it. I admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. Some other organic beers tend to be high on the organic and a little low on everything else that one tends to think of in good beer. But Otter Creek generally does it right so it was worth a shot.
This beer pours very dark, with little head. It gives off an initial aroma that is rather strong, but does not present anything unique or remarkable. The first sip stays true to the smell, doing little to give this brew its own identity. While not quite as creamy as some stouts, Wolaver’s Oatmeal nonetheless has a full flavor with a little bitterness to keep things interesting. Rather than adding the chocolate or coffee flavor of some stout varieties, or the sweetness that can accompany oatmeal stouts, this beer doesn’t get too creative.
Overall, Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout is very good, but if you’re looking for a flavor off the beaten path you should look elsewhere. In my mind, this is your everyday quality stout.