As I say whenever a "best of" list is published, this is only the opinions of those "experts" who compiled the list at that particular moment in time. However, the 12 beer experts in this case are very well qualified. Each of the 12 were asked to rank their top 10 favorite stouts - #1 picks earned 10 point, #2 picks earned 9 points, down to #10 picks which earned 1 point. Since there was a total of more than just 10 stouts, there is along list of honorable mentions as well.
Here are some regional beers that made that list:
#1 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout with 34 pts (Chicago) - annual release, but available in Michiana when released
#2 Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout with 31 pts (Gr. Rapids, MI) - annual release, but available in Michiana when released
#6 - tie - Bell's Expedition Stout with 21 pts (Kalamazoo, MI) - currently available in Michiana
#10 2-way tie - Three Floyds Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout with 10 pts (Munster, IN) - this is only available at the Brewery at their annual celebration
#18 6-way tie - Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout with 10 pts (Chicago) - annual release, but available in Michiana when released
#18 6-way tie - Half Acre Big Hugs with 10 pts (Chicago)
#18 6-way tie- Sun King Bourbon Barrrel Aged Timmie with 10 pts (Indianapolis)
#35 8-way tie- New Holland Dragon's Milk with 6 pts (Holland, MI) - currently available in Michiana
#62 6-way tie - Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout with 2 pts (Marshall, MI) - seasonal release that is currently available in Michiana
#62 6-way tie - Bell's Black Note with 2 pts (Kalamazoo, MI) - This will be on tap at the Constant Spring Friday, March 14!
#68 - 4-way tie - Saugatuck Neapolitan Milk Stout with 1 pt (Saugatuck, MI)
Many of these beers and others that made the list are available through distribution in Michiana. For the full list click here.
Here are the biographies of the 12 judges.
Pat Fahey is the beer equivalent of a level 4 sommolier and manages the administration of the Cicerone Beer Exams.
Sean Paxton was a professional chef for years, has been a homebrewer since 1993, and writes about the intersection of food and beer at his website The Homebrew Chef.
Dan Becker is the co-founder and chief beer drinker at The Full Pint
Joe Sixpack is an award-winning beer writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and author of What the Hell am I Drinking?.
Karl Klockars is an editor and social media manager at Guys Drinking Beer as well as a radio producer and podcast host.
Ryan Hermes is an editor/political liaison at Guys Drinking Beer who knows more about the Illinois Liquor Control Commission than most people.
Keith Villa is the head brewmaster at Blue Moon and serves on the board of advisors for the Oxford Companion to Beer.
Russ Phillips is the founder of CraftCans.com and author of Canned: Artwork of the Modern Beer Can.
Ashley Routson is the "Director of Awesomeness" at Bison Brewing and founder/editor of Drink with the Wench, Beer Mixology, and IPA Day.
D. J. Paul is a writer for Brewpublic and aficionado of Oregon brews.
Michael Kiser chronicles the world wide story of craft beer on his blog Good Beer Hunting.
Brad Ring is the publisher of Brew Your Own magazine.
So, even though these beers are only the opinion of these 10 judges, the fact that these stouts made the list probably means that they are pretty tasty. But don't take these judges words for it, track these beers down and try them yourself!
And since I was writing about stouts, I decided to crack one of my favorite stouts, Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. I did purchase this beer at City Wide Liquor in South Bend a few years ago, however, I don't believe that it is currently available. It is an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with Vietnamese ca phe chon coffee. It poured blacker than black and was think and creamy. Unfortunately, most of the coffee flavor has faded, but still quite a good stout.