After meeting Andrew in DC the week of Obama’s inauguration, we fell immediately into a lovely daily email habit that was only slightly fraught, on my part. Before stepping fully into my role as the pushy American girl and buying the fateful airline ticket to London, I happened one day to wander into one of several local liquor stores just inside the DC line, to buy a bottle of red wine for a recipe. There, as in a dream, I looked up and beheld the most colorful array of beers from seemingly every country in the world that I have ever seen, arranged bottle by bottle to show off the full variety; among them were at least half a dozen shelves of beers from the UK. I immediately thought of Andrew’s interest in beer, and knew he’d be fascinated at my find, so I asked the proprietor if I could snap a few pics with my phone and he was happy to oblige. Andrew’s first recommendation from the lot was to try all of the Sam Smith’s beers, particularly the Oatmeal Stout, and sure enough, I loved it: with its full body and dark caramel-coffee-slightly-sweetness, it did indeed taste breakfast-y, though a lot easier to clean up than a pot of porridge! (KIDDING; I only drink IPA for breakfast.)
The same Oatmeal Stout has now won the 2010 Washington Post’s Beer Madness competition. According to the article, this beer was developed by the Sam Smith Brewing Company in Tadcaster, UK, by commission and in collaboration with an American importer, based on (British) historical notes about what it should taste like. Originally, it was only available in the US, but now you can get it in imperial pint-sized (read: big) bottles on both sides of the pond, and there are many Sam Smith-licensed pubs around the UK.