A cold wind blows across your face, sending a shiver deep down into your sweater. You can see your breath as you huff and puff across the parking lot. And, as you pull the sleeves over your frigid fingers, you already begin to regret the inevitable walk back to the car, as your legs feel the sting of the season through your jeans. It’s Black Friday and you have a shopping errand or two to run. The only consolation is that there is a good beer at the end of your journey. You remembered that Rowley Farmhouse Ales is once again hosting their festival of soul-warming stouts, and that makes it all worth it.
Yes, all-day today, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is hosting Black-est Friday, their annual homage to the dark lord of beers, to the mash monster of maltdom, the imperial, the barrel-aged, the Stout. And, you are cordially invited.
Chef Jeffrey Kaplan told us that as in years past, you will be able to purchase 4-ounce pours, but due to the high ABV of these particular imperial stouts, you can only have two pours in front of you at a time per state law, since most of the beers are in the 13-to-14-percent range.
“You just feel responsible,” Kaplan said. “Plus, it gives people the opportunity to try everything, because it is a tasting kind of event.”
Kaplan also mentioned a special pairing menu that’s certainly something to stoke your coals. This year, RFA is working with Jessica Brewer, the pastry chef at La Paloma.
“We went through and tasted all the beers a couple weeks ago, and she developed a little menu for us,” Kaplan said. “It’s five different bites of food to pair with a few of the different beers. And, it’s a mix of sweet and savory, different textures, different flavors. There’s a hand pie on there. There’s a chocolate truffle, there’s a little cake bite. There’s some chicharrones. It’s just a little mix of everything to go with the styles for the day.”
The special is $15 for the tray.
Last year, the event was cancelled due to, well I’ll give you one guess. This year, while it may not be the social gathering like the days of yore, it will still be fun to come in and sit down, and enjoy the warmth of the winterized patio, and some incredible heavy flavors you just can’t get together at one place, on a year-round basis. Not in these parts.
Speaking of which, this year’s featured list may be smaller than in times past, but none the less exciting.
La Cumbre BA La Negra
2018 Great Divide BA Yeti
2017 Firestone Velvet Merkin
Stone Mikhail’s Odd BA Stout
2019 Rogue Rolling Thunder
2019 Sierra Nevada BA Narwhal
There are some fun beers on this list, but Kaplan and Rowley are most excited for their own imperial stout release, which will be available as well!
John Rowley came down stairs just in time to tell us about it.
“The beer is around 10 percent, a little higher. So it’s basically a beefed up version of Dark Hedges. So it’s an imperial oatmeal stout. We beefed it up a little bit. Not huge, but bigger than it was, and I think we maybe added a little more oats to it.”
So look out for Darker Hedges on the RFA menu. Other favorites on this year’s list, which I’m told are tasting excellent, are Stone’s Mikhail’s Odd and Rogue’s Rolling Thunder.
Whether you’re stopping in for a post-shopping beer, or hunkering down for an epic encounter with the abyss (and delightful food pairing), the good folks at RFA have something special for you. And, if you hadn’t noticed by now, you will. Stout season is upon us.
To those of you about to stout! We salute you! To your health and to Stout Season! Cheers!