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5 winter stouts to savor all season

As the snow flies throughout the winter, Buffalonians will hunker down, taking every opportunity to avoid the cold caress of the snow. But area breweries are dangling pints of thick and malty winter beers to draw us out of hibernation and into local pubs.

There are dozens of stouts to choose from - here are just five to get you started.

12 Gates Brewing Company - American Stout. Nestled deep in the commercial district of East Amherst, 12 Gates offers a diverse selection of beers, and the American Stout is no exception. Though the pour came from the nitro tap, the beer maintained a thin-to-medium body.

Scents of caramel and chocolate precede the coffee and roasted malt finish. The beer is currently available only at the brewery, and would pair well with the Reuben or the Lock flatbreads.

Sato Brewpub - Aggretsuko. Aggretsuko is one of the most complex stouts Buffalo has to offer. It is full and thick, pouring with a tall, caramel head. The dark chocolate and spice linger long after the beer is swallowed, and are followed by the familiar funk of Belgian yeast. This is a beer that must be experienced, and especially shared.

Aggretsuko can be found at the brewery and can be taken home in a growler for holiday celebrations. Aggrestuko’s rich and varied flavors would pair well with lamb or beef roasts and stews.

At Sato Brewpub, brews complement the food

Flying Bison Brewing Company - Blackbird Oatmeal Stout. For those who have been fans of craft beer for more than a decade, Blackbird is a familiar name. The stout pours dark with a thin head. The beer has a faint soddy esther, and has a heavy roasted malt flavor.

Because it’s a bit thin for an oatmeal stout, Blackbird would pair well with rich desserts, like peanut butter pie. Flying Bison released Blackbird in bottles this fall for the first time since 2008, and it is available in stores and at the Larkinville brewery.

Rusty Nickel Brewing - Milk Money Stout. Named by adoring fans, this once-seasonal, now-perpetual stout is nearly exactly as its name states. Though medium bodied, Milk Money pours with a pillowy cream-colored head. This stout is all roast and chocolate, due in large part to a hefty helping of cocoa nibs, hand-picked by head brewer Dave Johnson.

Milk Money makes an incredible mixology - a feature perfected by Rusty Nickel. Combined with McKenzie’s Black Cherry Cider, Milk Money becomes a smooth cherry cordial. Milk Money is available at the brewery and for growler fills to take home.

Old First Ward Brewing Company - High & Rye. This is a smooth, deep, complex beer. The stout pours dark with a thin head. Roasted malts are joined by a rich rye flavor that adds bourbon characteristics without the booze of barrel aging.

OFW’s team of brewers created a great beer/food pairing, whether or not it was intentional. The brewery’s home pub, Gene McCarthy’s, offers fantastic house wings. Crisp with a spicy barbecue sauce and topped with crumbled blue cheese, these wings and this beer are a match made in heaven. Be sure to stop by for a pint or a growler fill.

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