Festival of the Dark Arts is not the only thing going on in Astoria this February, Fort George Brewery has a full 29 days of events for their 2020 Stout Month. Thanks to leap year, stout lovers have an extra 24 hours to dip into the inky darkness of black beers with a variety of twists. Part of the fun will be the release of Fort George’s sought after barrel-aged Matryoshkas.
More from a press release:
“I started Stout Month because as a new brewer I loved making stout,” said Jack Harris, co-owner of Fort George. “It just seemed like a style with endless amounts of opportunity to put different spins on it.”
Brewers looked to the darkest corners of their recipe books to prepare for this year’s Stout Month. They selected cacao nibs and coffees, cardamom and sea salt for their inky creations. The resulting stouts will be on tap throughout the Fort George block in downtown Astoria every day in February, with new releases coming out every Saturday.
On the heels of the sold-out Festival of Dark Arts, stout lovers will gather for The Aftermath on February 16. There, six new Matryoshka variants aged in Westward Whiskey and Bourbon barrels will debut. Matryoshka Vertical Week deepens the darkness February 22–29.
Harris started his first Stout Month in 1992 at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, while working for McMenamins. “I carried it with me to The Lighthouse Brewpub in Lincoln City and then to Boulder, Colorado,” he said. “I also imposed Stout Month on Bill’s Tavern in Cannon Beach for nine years before bringing it up here to Astoria.”
Blind taster trays let visitors try a variety of stouts with their senses fully engaged. “Stout takes a lot of the visual cues out of the beer,” according to Harris. “It makes you rely on your nose and taste buds to explore it without preconceptions your eyes dictate.”
He adds that you can learn from looking at a stout—how dark it is, how thick it is, how tiny the bubbles are—but mostly, “You get to let your mouth tell you what the beer is.”
This year, Fort George will release more stouts than ever before. Playing on the brewery’s spidery Cavatica theme, releases range from Itsy Bitsy—a light and dry Irish Stout—to an imposing Wolf Spider aged in Laphroaig Scotch Whiskey and Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels. A smoked maple stout goes by the moniker Book of Shadows. Ice cream lovers will gravitate to Spumoni Stout, complete with pistachios and cherries. Staff are available to help stout lovers make selections or dive right into a blind taster.
Saturday, February 1st
Itsy Bitsy – Light, dry, Irish Stout. 4.3% Polish’s Black Walnut Stout – Black. Walnut. Stout. Contains nuts, duh. 6.4% Cavatica – You know it. 8.8% S’more Please – Milk Stout with Brown Sugar, Lactose, Cacao Nibs and Vanilla – Inspiration and help from Alyssa Logan with Luke Barrett on the Brew 8.9% Dark Tunneler – Imperial Caramel Stout with Cocoa Nibs, Macadamia Nuts and Sea Salt 10.6% Made to Order – Imperial Coffee Stout brewed for the Holiday Ale Festival – 12.5% Whale Shark – Imperial Chocolate Hazelnut Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels. Collab with 16 Tons Bottle Shop in Eugene. 12.7% Matryoshka 2020 – Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout – Buffalo Trace Barrels – 12.7% Malt Gauntlet – Collab with Alesong Bourbon Barrel Aged with Vanilla and Cinnamon. Brewed by Dave Coyne and Matt Van Wyk. Dave illustrated the bottle as well. 15% Wolf Spider – A blend of Laphroaig Scotch Whiskey and Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels – Contains nuts* 12.7%
Saturday, February 8th
Mr. Chocolate Bar – Chocolatey, nutty, and Salty Candy Bar Stout – Inspiration by Vance and Jaime McDermott. Chocolate, almond, vanilla, sea salt. 6.8% Book of Shadows – Smoked Maple Stout – Recipe by Cameron Pierce and Luke Barrett. 9.7% Spumoni Stout – Milk Stout with Cherries, Pistachios, Cocoa Nibs and Vanilla. Brewed by Aaron Sundal -Contains Nuts again. And lactose. 6.4% Sagittarius A* – Barrel Aged Stout with Molasses, Brown Sugar , Cardamom, Almonds by Packy Colemean. 11.4%
Sunday, February 16th – The Aftermath
Nitro Cow Stout – Milk Stout on Nitro – 4.7% Supper Club – Imperial Milk Stout aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels-Brewed by Dave Coyne, Nathan Bowling and Silas Drago. 12.5% Matryoshka – Westward Vanilla Matryoshka – Westward Vanilla + Hazelnuts Matryoshka – Westward Vanilla + Hazelnuts + Blackberry Matryoshka – Maple Bourbon Mytroshka – Maple Bourbon + Coffee Matryoshka – Rye + Cocoa Nibs.
Saturday, February 22nd
Matryoshka Vertical Week! 4 different Matryoshkas from 2017 – 2020 on each tap list. $20 taster tray.
Matryoshka & The Aftermath
The day after Festival of Dark Arts is known as the Aftermath. On this day the Fort George campus will reopen to the public at noon. New Stouts will be released, but Barrel Aged fans will rejoice in the release of Matryoshka – our seasonal barrel aged stout. This year, six variants aged in Westward Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye Whiskey barrels will be released. No tickets or reservations necessary.
On Saturday, February 22nd, keep an eye out for 4 different Matryoshkas from 2017 – 2020 on tap lists around the block. Matryoshka specific Taster Trays will be available.
Festival of Dark Arts
Every year for one dark day, Stout lovers gather at the brewery to enjoy craft, art, entertainment, and dozens of limited-release stouts. Tickets to February 15th’s Festival of Dark Arts 2020 sold out quickly.
But thanks to the leap year, there are still 28 other days of darkness this Stout Month. On any day in February, the tap lists at Fort George will be overflowing with dark and delectable beers.
For those scheduling out next year: Festival of Dark Arts tickets always go on sale on Black Friday, and the Festival is always held on the Saturday of President’s Day Weekend.
Festival of Dark Arts
Saturday, February 15th, 2020
12pm to 10pm
Fort George Brewery Block
1483 Duane Street
Festival of Dark Arts ticket holders can check in and get their festival packets beginning at 9 am on the 15th.
Stout Month begins on Saturday, February 1st. Bring your loved ones, your beloved growlers, and your love of the dark. Fort George promises you won’t go away light-handed. For moreinformation about Fort George Brewery and Stout Month events, go to fortgeorgebrewery.com.
Fort George Brewery 1483 Duane Street Astoria, Oregon 97013 (503) 325-PINT
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.