Finally the last bit of “work” before the beer starts to flow.

Even though we South Africans do not have the stout drinking culture like the Irish, we do love a pint of the black stuff. Most of our craft breweries have a rich, dark beer in their line up.

For some new beer drinkers a stout or a porter may be a little overwhelming, but can still be very enjoyable.

The word stout, meaning a strong black beer, goes back at least to 1630. The term was applied to the “stout butt beers” that would later go on to be named “porter”. Stout forms a widespread and varied family of beers whose members all share a deep, dark, roasty character.
Origin: Stout is the son of porter and largely outstripped it and has various sub styles from dry to sweet, weak to strong.
Flavor: Always roasty; may have caramel and hops too.
Aroma: Roasty malt; with or without hop aroma.
Balance: Very dry to very sweet.
ABV: 3.8-5%
Body: dry to full bodied
Bitterness: medium to high (30-40 IBU)

Far from being invented porter emerged over a generation or more,transforming itself from an assemblage of brown ales into a pedigreed family of chestnut-colored brews that was eventually named after transport workers who were its most visible fans.
Origin: London, about 1700.
Flavor: Creamy roasty-toasty malt, hoppy or not.
Aroma: roasty maltiness; usually little or no hop aroma.
Balance: Malt,hops, roast in various proportions.
ABV: 4.0-6.5%
Body: Medium
Color: Brown to black.
Bitterness: Low to medium-high (20-40 IBU)

With most of these beers on show at Cape Town Festival of Beer, try them all and better yet compare different ones form different breweries. You may just be able to charm a brewer with your new found knowledge out of a free pint or two.

(This post is adapted from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher)