Three Pittsburgh-made dark beers for fall

For fans of smooth, roasty beers, we rounded up a coffee porter, a pastry stout and a chocolate stout. We also preview the 2020 BLACK AHT Stout Festival (Nov 27-29).

by Aadam Soorma
November 10, 2020

ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.

Dark beer season is here!

And – full disclosure – my first (several) forays into enjoying craft beer were, admittedly, stouts and porters. Folks who love coffee are nodding along, I’m sure.

We’ve got three (local) recommendations for folks who enjoy smooth, roasty flavors this time of year.

Porter vs Stout

Need a quick primer on what these words mean? Here’s a summarized walkthrough of what determines a versus a porter (beer) versus a stout (beer). Per, the porter and the stout are, well…very similar beer styles.

Porter: A dark, medium-bodied beer with malty flavors and balanced with hops. Brewed using malted barley.

Stout: A dark beer brewed using unmalted, roasted barley. Historically, a stout is a “stouter” – or stronger – version of a porter. Over time, however, brewers continued experimenting and present day stouts aren’t necessarily always stronger than porters.

Read on for our local stout and porter recommendations that you can try this weekend. Cheers!

ABV, volume XCIII

Local Stouts and Porters for Dark Beer Fans

Inner Groove Brewing

Neighborhood: Verona

Beer Name: Rattlesnake Shake 

Style / ABV: Coffee Porter // 7.5% ABV

Why we recommend it: Per Inner Groove’s description, the Rattlesnake Shake is a coffee porter conditioned on Madagascar vanilla beans and Java coffee. For folks unfamiliar, “conditioning” refers to one of the final stages of the brewing process where the fermented beer is cooled, carbonated and conditioned in a large, flat-bottom vessel before being transferred to its final destination – usually kegs or cans. Conditioning beer on a number of aromatic or tasty adjuncts can have an effect on the beer’s taste and aroma.

Expect to taste notes of dark chocolate, toffee, and vanilla with natural bitter-coffee appeal.

Hitchhiker Brewing

Neighborhood: Sharpsburg and Mt Lebanon

Beer Name: Some Mores 

Style / ABV: Pastry Stout // 8.5% ABV

Why we recommend it: Buckle in for a sweet, tasty ride. Per Hitchhiker’s description, Some Mores was brewed with Crystal and Dark Malts and later conditioned on chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. Other beer blogs have professed their deep, seasonal love for pastry stouts and we expect this one to be special. Pro Tip: Some Mores releases this Friday, Nov 13 and I’m expecting this one to move quick.

East End Brewing

Neighborhood: Larimer


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PA LOOPHOLE ROUND 2! There’s been a lot of collaboration in the state lately, and with the success of the first Loophole, we knew we had to loop back around… ahem. So, we’re happy to announce the release of PA Loophole Round 2! Adapting to the change in seasons, we’ve brewed a hearty Mexican Chocolate Stout, perfect for the late autumn weather. Full-bodied and brewed with 100% cacao, ancho peppers, cinnamon, Mexican allspice and coming in at robust 7.9% abv, Loophole 2 was brewed collaboratively with the following breweries: – Artifact Brewing (@artifactbrewing) – Birthright Brewing (@birthrightbco) – Bloom Brew (@bloombrew)⁣ – Boneshire Brew Works (@boneshirebrewworks)⁣ – Boxcar Brew Works (@boxcar.doolittlestation)⁣ – Clarion River Brewing Company (@clarionriverbrew)⁣ – Covered Bridge Brewhaus – Fury Brewing Company (@furybrewing)⁣ – Hemauer Brewing Co. (@hemauerbrewingco)⁣ – Lincoln Avenue Brewery (@lincolnavenuebrewery)⁣ – Monday’s Brewing (@mondaysbrewing) – Newtown Brewing (@newtownbrewco) – Selin’s Grove Brewing (@selins_grove_brewing) – Shy Bear Brewing (@shybearbrewing)⁣ – Spring Hill Brewing (@springhillbrewing)⁣ – Stonebridge Brewing Co. (@stonebridgebrewing) And a special thanks to Deer Creek Malt House (@deercreekmalt) for providing four different PA malts, and of course, Breweries in PA (@breweriesinpa). Expect this bold, tasty stout to be available in four packs here at EEBC tomorrow when we open at 3pm and at the above breweries across PA throughout the week! Check our previous post on Loophole 1 to learn more details about this project. Cheers to everyone involved in this project – especially you GOOD BEER Fans out there! Thanks for helping to keep PA Craft Beer the strong industry that it is! • • • • • #eastendbrewing #pennsylvaniabeer #pabeer #pennsylvania #craftbeer #pacraftbeer #drinklocal #drinklocalbeer #pittsburgh #pittsburghbeer

A post shared by East End Brewing (@eastendbrewing) on

Beer Name: PA Loophole, Round 2 

Style / ABV: Mexican Chocolate Stout // 7.9% ABV

Why we recommend it: For folks who missed PA Loophole, Round 1 – here’s a thorough walkthrough (from East End Brewing) that explains why this collaboration beer is so special and how it benefits smaller breweries struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.

For PA Loophole, Round 2 – the East End team decided to run with the same concept (making the beer widely available for purchase around Pennsylvania) but shifted into autumn-flavor mode on the beer recipe. Per their site, PA Loophole, Round 2 is full-bodied and brewed with 100% cacao, ancho peppers, cinnamon and Mexican allspice.

Other (Local) Dark Beers We Enjoy

Last year, we wrote about some of our other favorite dark beers found around Pittsburgh. Revisit these past favorites below.

Hop Farm Brewing: The Fresh Pot of Porter (5.5% ABV) is brewed using coffee beans from La Prima Espresso Co and is a staple among Hop Farm’s dark beer offerings. We gave this beer some love in August 2019.

Brew Gentlemen: The BG team has a loyal following around Mexican Coffee, their seasonal oatmeal stout that’s brewed using coffee beans from Deeper Roots. Pro Tip: tell a coffee lover to visit Caffe D’Amore in Upper Lawrenceville. They are the only Pittsburgh-based coffee shop to be working with Deeper Roots (Cincinnati, OH) on their coffee program.

Couch Brewery: After debuting their ALL stout tap takeover day last year, the Couch team is reviving the dark beer deluge – fittingly – on Black Friday. Snag a ticket for this year’s BLACK AHT 2020 Stout Festival, happening at Couch from Nov 27 to Nov 29. Each $30 ticket gets you set up with a 4-pour flight of your choice, one 16-oz pour and a meal. The Couch team will be offering 10 variations of their in-house stouts all weekend long.

More info on BLACK AHT here.

Header image courtesy of East End Brewing.

In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

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