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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Great Lakes Blackout Stout

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 12, 2007 6:00PM

2007_09_botw37.jpgNow that summer is doing the quick fade, certain foods and beverages that we avoided during the warm months are creeping back into our diet. They tend to taste better during cooler weather. One of those beverages is a good stout. We mean a good stout, with the viscosity of motor oil and brewed with malt so heavily roasted you'd think they burned the brewery down making the beer.

We bought a couple bottles of Great Lakes Blackout Stout around the same time we reviewed Goose Island's Imperial Brown Goose for "BotW" and placed them behind some stuff in our bar. We promptly forgot about them until we marked the same space in the bar for some Dark Lord we "acquired." The feeling that washed upon us when we saw those beauties must be what old ladies feel when their cats come back from straying throughout the neighborhood.

Named after the largest blackout in North American history four years ago, this imperial Russian stout greatly benefited from our poor short-term memory. The alcohol sting on the nose - Blackout weighs in at a heavy nine percent alcohol by volume - mellowed considerably, which meant more pronounced notes of espresso and raisins. The "none more black" color was still intact, as well as the sludge-like thickness. The head from Blackout was a deep brown in color, with thick lace rings left on the glass. The flavor of this beer was what we've come to expect from a Russian stout. Lots of deep coffee, hints of chocolate and dark dried fruits abound. The finish is dry and lingering. On the day we popped open our bottles, we paired Blackout with some grilled green tomatoes dipped in a cornbread, brown sugar and guajillo chile batter. The flavors amazingly complemented each other quite nicely.

Folks interested in purchasing some Blackout Stout can find it at Binny's ($10.99 for a 4-pack) and Archer Liquors. We do recommend serving this after the chill has worn off a bit, to better pick up the flavors we listed. Great Lakes Blackout Stout is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."