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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": St. Peter's Cream Stout

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 14, 2007 5:00PM

2007_02_botw7.jpgFor those of us who took a snow day, we have the option of reaching into the fridge for a beer. Few beers help bide one's time during a spell of bad weather quite like a stout. Regular readers know that we prefer English stouts over their Irish counterparts. They're heavier, richer, and haven't been sullied by Gaelic hands. Typically, English stouts are brewed with little additions, like oatmeal, chocolate, or coffee.

The Suffolk-based St. Peter's Brewery is housed in old farm buildings, on a site dating back to the thirteenth century. This 11-year-old brewery produces both traditional English beers and unique choices like a honey porter, grapefruit beer, and a spiced wassail. Most of their selections are bottled in replica Revolutionary War-era flask-styled bottles. Our favorite St. Peter's selection is their old-style porter. As we're writing this, however, it doesn't hit the spot quite like their cream stout, a half-liter bottle of chocolate bliss.

St. Peter's brews their cream stout using Fuggles and Challenger hops, and a blend of four barley malts. Like most English stouts, St. Peter's cream stout is thick, almost like syrup. Because of the way it's bottled, it doesn't have the cascading head most of us associate with stouts. The head on St. Peter's produces large, soda-like bubbles. This beer could benefit from an added nitrogen widget, for decanting purposes. Sipping this, you'll pick up a nice chocolate flavor on your tongue. It isn't as sweet as Young's Double Chocolate Stout, or overpowering like Sam Adams Chocolate Bock. The flavor here is reminiscent of bittersweet baking chocolate, becoming more prominent as the beer warms to room temperature. It drinks great by itself, or blended with a fruitier beer, like New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, or Lindeman's Framboise, for a dessert in a glass.

We found St. Peter's Cream Stout at Lush Wine & Spirits' University Village location for around five dollars. That's a bit higher than what Sam's sells St. Peter's Golden ale, but we live closer to Lush than Sam's, and are willing to pay extra for the convenience. For the lady in your life who loves chocolate, it's cheaper than an assortment of bon-bons, so think about picking up a bottle this evening. St. Peter's Cream Stout is a beer worth strapping on snow shoes to buy, and it's Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."