Sand Creek Brewing Company is almost as well-known these days as a contract brewer of numerous Wisconsin craft beers as it is for its own award-winning beers. Sand Creek has shown themselves to be a very versatile brewery; their own lineup is split approximately 50/50 between ales and lagers with a few hybrid styles (and a Cranberry Ale, which, because we are generous, we won't review - we'll just say, you should try one before you buy a whole six-pack) thrown in for variety. However, while the Cranberry Ale may not be everyone's cup of tea, the bock, oktoberfest, and oatmeal stout have all won awards at the World Beer Cup. Interestingly, the same year that the Sand Creek Chocolate Oatmeal Stout won the gold medal in the Oatmeal Stout category, another Madison-area brewery took the bronze medal - Angelic Brewery for their Sinner's Stout (of course, Angelic is no longer a brewpub, but the brewmasters there, Dean and Chris, have now gone on to form a brewery that we all know and love as Ale Asylum).
Oscar's Chocalate Oatmeal Stout - a mild 4.5% ABV and a mere 25 IBUs.
Appearance: Pours thick, but not oily with no head; thin wisps of tan and minimal bubbles on a black body
Aroma: malty, roasty and dense aroma; very little bitterness, though a sweet brightness accentuates an earthy graininess
Flavor: thick and muted, the chocolate is surprisingly subtle, while the oats add a thickness that keeps the roasted malt flavors front and center; the finish comes quite quickly with a sharp bitterness that fades into a continuation of the chocolates that came up front
Body: full-bodied, with flavors that linger for a bit, but fades surpsingly quickly, though the roasted flavors hang around
Drinkability: it may be hard to drink more than one, but it is nice to have one.
Summary: to paraphrase Dennis Green "It is exactly what we thought it would be. It is exactly what we thought it would be." If you are looking for a muted flavored-full bodied stout this is your stout; perfect for non-spicy stews, and other late-winter meals, or something to sip while contemplating if the writer's strike is ever going to end