One of my favorite parts about visiting small breweries that don’t have wide distribution is that mythical “diamond in the rough.” I’ve known about Corcoran for a very long time, and their Irish Red is the very first growler that I ever purchased. We typically go out to Purcellville for the wineries, but with the addition of Adroit Theory, Flying Dog, and a few other stops having just opened or on the way, the last stop in Virginia before hitting the “West” portion is looking to stake its own claim on the VA beer map apart from Leesburg. Having fond memories of the Corky’s Irish Red, I decided to visit their new tasting room near downtown Purcellville on the way to pick up a wine shipment from their farm. A nice little tasting later, I whipped out that original growler but brought home something different than I expected.
Oatlands, Corcoran Brewing Company (Purcellville, VA) – @CorcoranBrew
Oatmeal Ginger Stout, ABV 6%, IBU 34
Presentation: Growler pour into pint glass.
Taste: This features a very complex nose, mostly coffee with only the most subtle hints of ginger. To be honest, rather than a gingerbread cookie this really reminded me of a birch beer in that you’re getting a whiff of the root rather than the shavings. It’s not overly earthy nor sweet, but more of a light zest. As you hit the body at the front of your tongue, those earthy elements stick with you all the way through the finish. Of all people, my mother on tasting this said it’d be the perfect sidekick to a baked ham. Not a honey ham, but I can see her point with the cloves that she uses as this is brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg in addition to the ginger.
ABV/IBU: As with most non-imperial stouts, this isn’t much of an issue. I did smile when Corcoran’s website listed this as having “33.6” IBUs.
Overall: This is a nice holiday beer in all honesty. It’s not as big or flavorful as some other stouts we’ve taken a look at, but I think it’s a fairly unique profile given the oats, ginger, and other spices. It’s also not as heavy as other stouts or porters, so I find it to be less situational than many of its brethren. I enjoyed this a lot more from the source than from the growler, so would encourage you to make the trek out to Corocan (and the others in Purcellville area) if you can.