Oats Need a Better Spokesman

Wilford Brimley has long been the image that comes to mind when you think about oats.  We finally get past the image on the Quaker Oats package, and traded one curmudgeon for another.  Seriously how did the oat get so unlucky?  It would be like if C. Everet Coop started doing advertisements for the healthful benefits of whole grain bread!  They may as well come out with a new slogan that says “Eat your oats, they make you poop!”

So it is no wonder that people pass on oatmeal stout, just because of the name.  Lets face it, if more people would try an oatmeal stout, I’m convinced there would be far more demand for the product.  But it is the image that the american public has in their head about oats.  They’re good for horses and to loosen things up, digestively speaking.  Well undaunted by this bit of bad press I have embarked upon a mission to find the best Oatmeal Stout in the country.  I recently reviewed Sam Smith’s version of the brew, and I have found one better.  This one actually won a gold medal in some judging of different oatmeal stouts.  Let us pray to God the judging panel wasn’t made up of constipated senior citizens!…

Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is made by Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonton, California, a pastoral community in the northern part of the state.  This 5.7 ABV brew is a complex beer with a touch of hops and mocha and a creamy mouth feel.

The pour is dark, dark brown with light barely creeping through around the edges of the glass, with a light tan head that quickly dissipated, but left its tell tale lacing on the sides of the vessel.  The nose on this brew is where the oats come through.  It smells like a field on a dew soaked morning with sweet grasses and just a touch of the hops.

Upon my first sip I was rewarded with the creamy mouth feel and a complex offering of mocha, a touch of hops, and well…oats.  They definately came through in the flavor with their kind of malty sweetness followed by a slightly bitter dryness that makes this beer very neat.  The flavors do not linger, but do their good work and move on quickly.

This was a very good oatmeal stout, but meanwhile I am still searching for that great hearty breakfast oatmeal stout.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about Founder’s, so I am on the hunt once again.  In the meantime let me make this appeal on behalf of oats.  Do not judge a book by its cover.  The oat has had to endure a lot of advertising snafus.  Give it a shot, and in the meantime perhaps Quaker could work on getting Beyonce as their spokesperson!  Good Grief!

-Don

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10 Comments on “Oats Need a Better Spokesman”

  1. Jim
    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Founders is very good, but my current favorite is Southern Tier Oat, an imperial (you know, boozy) oatmeal stout. It absolutely blew my mind. Not a classic oatmeal stout, but an instant classic for me!

    • Don
      January 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      Alms for the poor? We need to work out a beer exchange once a quarter or something so I can get some of the brews you have, and you can get some out here!

  2. mikemoriendi
    January 6, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    I want to have this one but we don’t get this one in the store by me. We do get other Anderson Valley stuff though.

    I’ve been told, and sort of seen, that Founder’s may be a bit over rated. I had a few of their beers not too long ago and I was underwhelmed. I have also seen people say the KBS is very overhyped.

    • Don
      January 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

      Hey Mike. I’d say that this brew was solid, but it wasn’t transformative by any means. If I was to use your rating scale I would give it a B to B+. Not sure what KBS is.

  3. January 7, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    Don, you need an app to know what KBS is. Its an East Coast thing. On to the matter @ hand, I’ve seen this beer @ my local Total Wine but I’ve never picked it up.

    • Don
      January 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

      I think you will like it Scott. It only has 13 IBUs and it is pretty good stuff.

  4. January 7, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    I’ve had a lot of the Founders lineup, nothing is overrated about any of their beers. All top notch. Especially their Harvest Ale. Only one I really couldn’t get into is the Curmudgeon but for some reason I can’t get into many Old Ales anyway. Their IPAs are great, their stouts are fantastic, their porter is one of my favorites. Ok I’ll shut up now.

    • Don
      January 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

      I’ll have to look for the founders line out here. There seems to be a pretty wide opinion of the stuff, but most seem to like it.

  5. January 7, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    I think Founders is over-rated, too. Personally, I’m still a fan of the classic Sam Smith’s version. Also, Breckenridge makes a nice version. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is Founder’s Bourbon Aged Coffee Stout. People wail about how great it is. I’ve had it twice just to make sure that it wasn’t that good…and it’s not (in my opinion). You are far better off with other stouts. I think it’s time for me to make another Oatmeal Stout, maybe I’ll have some when I come to visit.

    • Don
      January 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

      Everyone has a varied opinion about this stuff. Either they believe the hype and are part of it, or they say it is over hyped. I guess I’ll just have to try it for myself.

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