The range of darker style beers in our Top 30 takes you on quite a journey from a light-bodied 5 per cent stout from Sunshine, through to a huge 11.5 per cent (made to share) barrel-aged Imperial Stout from Kereru. Dip your nose into a glass from any of our Top 30 and sniff out what they have in common: aroma and flavour based around chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. So yeah, a little bit like a rich red wine. They are a natural accompaniment to wintry stews, pies and casseroles but you can get quite clever with these bigger beers.
Stout and porter are long-time companions for oysters – the sweet notes offsetting the briny sharpness of the shellfish. Equally they can be matched with desserts – but don’t have a chocolately beer with a chocolate dessert, they will cancel out each other and the beer will taste too bitter. Instead try an imperial stout, such as 8 Wired’s iStout, with vanilla or custard-based desserts. Even better – drop a scoop of ice cream into your glass of beer to make a ‘spider’. Kereru’s Night Spirit is the perfect after-dinner beer with a plate of cheese and some dried fruit while Sprig & Fern's Scotch Ale is a great beer with some BBQ lamb.