Which Came First….

Forget about fowl and their offspring, what about the real question:  Which came first the porter or the stout?  Much of the written beer history of that time was spotty at best.  One of the first mentions of either one was in the early 1700s.  It referenced a brewer’s description of a porter, or “entire” beer.  These beers were more robust than the common ale and had a darker color, higher alcohol and higher hopping rates.  The name probably came from the beer’s biggest consumer, the porters, or the laborers of that time.

In the 1750s, Arthur Guinness began making beer in his brewery in St. James’s Gate, Ireland.  The London porters were becoming as popular in Ireland as in England, so the brewery began producing this type of beer.

Image of Ray Dugan on St. Patrick's Day

Ray Dugan

They eventually produced and marketed a “Guinness Extra Strong Porter” which eventually was termed a “Stout Porter”.  At some point the word porter was dropped and the beer was known simply as “stout”.

The Dugan Oatmeal Stout was made with about 5% flaked oats. giving it a rich body and creamy thick head.  That nearly constitutes as breakfast, doesn’t it?  It was named in loving memory of a long time patron and friend of the Calistoga Inn, Ray Dugan.  Next time you want to relive a small piece of European history, stop by and try a pint of Calistoga Porter side by side with the Dugan Oatmeal Stout.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  Cheers!

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A Time for New Beginnings

This year offered the Calistoga Inn & Brewery a number of opportunities.  The first – our premier Brewer’s Dinner, where we paired a different beer with each of six courses.  The basic theme for the menu was food that paired well with beer, (because what doesn’t pair well with beer?) and also prepared with some form of beer or it’s base ingredients.

We had barley, first used to make beer, added to our house made sourdough bread, a beer and cheese soup, short ribs braised in beer, and as a finale, the sweet brewers wort before being fermented into beer, reduced down into a beautiful caramel-like drizzle.  It allowed for us to put the fantastic work the kitchen does with food and the efforts of the brewery in making fine hand-crafted beer, up on a pedestal to show people how unique The Calistoga Inn really is.

It was also a chance to demonstrate that beer is just as accessible, if not more so, than wine to pair with food.  We barely advertised the event and it sold out!  This was not only a lot of fun for everyone involved, but a great stepping stone to host these pairings a few times a year.  For those of you who missed it, stay tuned for our next beer dinner during the summer with a wood grill BBQ theme.

Our second accomplishment was the hosting of an American Homebrew Association beer competition.  This was organized by the Bung Brewers, a local homebrew club, and was extremely well received.  We were expecting around 70 to 80 entries, but ended up with OVER 300!

The judging took place early one Saturday in our dining room and many entrants arrived around 3:00 PM for the announcing of all the winners.  There were commercial brewers, certified BJCP judges and amateur judges that compared home brewed beer entries to style guidelines and, in some cases, made suggestions on how to improve their next batch.  There were multitudes of fantastic beer!  This type of event is essential to our craft beer society and  encourages people to make and drink great beer, raising the bar for everyone!

The last of our new offerings, of course, is this blog.  Check back for announcements and descriptions of new and exciting beers being released, ideas for new processes and extreme beers, and just the rants of a raving Brewmaster who is constantly dreaming up different ingredients and methods to make great hand-crafted beers that are only sold here on premises.  Thanks for reading!

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