The last two beers I posted about were from West Coast breweries, so I figured it's time to move back to the East. Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout is an old favorite and one of the first stouts we enjoyed on a regular basis. In fact, we typically have at least one of the Old Dominion beers on hand at all times. It is my understanding that the original Oak Barrel Stout served onsite at the Old Dominion Brewpub was aged in actual oak barrels. However the bottled product, and all current production, is produced with wood chips added during the fermentation process.
This beer pours jet black with a robust beige head. Some lacing is left behind as the head slowly drops. The aroma is that of dark chocolate and roasted malt, with faint vanilla notes. The flavor has roasted malts and oak, with some licorice. As the beer warms a slight smokiness comes out. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. I found that a bit of milk chocolate went well with my beer. There's a nice lingering hop bitterness, but none of the expresso astringency that one finds in some stouts. This is one goes down easily, perhaps too easily. However, at just 5.2% ABV that's not too much of an issue. The stout was also very soothing on a pollen-induced sore throat.
Old Dominion Brewery took some heat from the local craft beer community after the company was sold to Coastal Brewing, a joint venture of Fordham Brewing and Anheuser-Busch. Staff and product lineup changes after the sale only fueled the flames. However, recent reports from locals visiting the brewpub tell a different story. Brewer innovation is producing new beers, and the old favorites, such as the Oak Barrel Stout are still being produced.