Beer from Here: Burial Beer Co. – Skillet Donut Stout

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Burial Beer Co.’s Skillet Donut Stout is a breakfast beer dream.

What was once a hidden gem, Burial Beer Co. is now an Asheville staple. I’d even argue it’s one of the strongest breweries in the state with the quality of beer produced on a weekly basis. The name might strike you as odd, but the brewery sees it as “a celebration: of life, of the cyclical nature of harvest and of the brewing process.”

What started as a one-barrel pilot system in June 2013 quickly transformed into a 10-barrel system in November 2014. Beers range from traditional Belgian ales styles to bolder American styles. They also have a passion for Farmhouse beers and big American Stouts. “Burial aims to add a modern touch by implementing new materials and brewing techniques. We don’t want to change the beer – we want to enhance the way it has tasted for generations,” says a description on their website.

As the brewery continues its expansion, it was announced favorites Skillet Donut Stout, Scythe Rye Pale Ale and Bolo Coconut Brown Ale would be canned in 2015. The wait was finally over earlier this month. Skillet was making its can debut.

Skillet Donut Stout is the ideal breakfast beer. It screamed coffee and doughnuts. I cracked open the 16 oz. can and carefully poured the jet black libation into a tulip glass. For a second, I thought I was in a coffee shop. That’s how good this beer smelled. Notes of glazed doughnut on the nose had me licking my chops. A tan, creamy finger thick head appeared, but quickly thinned out. As expected, the stout had low carbonation.

I’ll be honest, I love coffee stouts. I enjoyed Skillet Donut Stout once before on draft, but it was a must try from the can. Many folks give canned beer a bad rap, but there are so many benefits. Burial typically adds a glazed doughnut hole on a toothpick to accompany the beer, but I wasn’t that lucky this time around.

My first sip was everything I remembered from the draft version, but better. Bitterness up front with Hologram and Big Trouble coffees from Counter Culture Coffee, lactose and vanilla. The stout had a thick mouthfeel with added creaminess and chewiness from the oats. Roasted malt and chocolate in the middle were rounded out with a sticky molasses on the back that quickly balanced any residual bitterness. A thick, patchy lacing graced my glass.

Burial recommends letting the beer warm up to 50 degrees before consumption. As I let the stout sit after my first few sips, I picked up some different coffee aromas. Unexpected, but pleasantly surprising. The vanilla became more pronounced as well. The flavors drew me in sip after sip and the 8% ABV, 60 IBU stout went down very easy.

If I could pick one word to describe this beer – amazing. I firmly believe it can hold its own against some of the best coffee stouts out there, including a personal favorite – Founders Breakfast Stout. The coffee flavor in Skillet is huge. The vanilla and lactose helped balance the beer to make it easy to drink at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Grab a can. Look for it on draft. Visit the brewery. Do whatever it takes to try this stout.

Skillet Donut Stout and other Burial beers can be found in bars, restaurants and specialty stores around Asheville. You can also find their beers in few bottle shops in Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle.

Brewery: Burial Beer Co.
City: Asheville, NC
Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 8%
Availability: Year round; draft and 16 oz. cans

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