You know what they say: Beauty is in the pie of the beholder, right? From chocolate-covered cupcakes to coconut truffle bombs, pastry stouts have burned up (set fire to) bottle drops like a torched meringue.

We admit that it seems drinkers have a sweet tooth. Most recently, Untappd users recorded a whopping 300k check-ins in the category “Stout – Imperial/Double Pastry,” and these indulgent beers placed second on Untappd’s list of the highest-rated average styles of 2023.

Most likely because the key to a successful pastry stout taps into those after-dinner, sometimes nostalgic sensations—ice cream, brownies, cakes, pies, cookies, and any number of candy bars.

“It’s cool when you nail all the flavors and the beer tastes like what you say it’s going to taste like,” former Angry Chair Head Brewer Ben Romano once told us.

The excitement commonly associated with releasing these beers has reached a feverish pitch.

“You cannot add enough Oreo cookies to beer to satisfy [people],” said Adroit Theory Owner Mark Osbourne, who has been making standout stouts, many now with unique dessert-like ingredients, for almost ten years. “People like sweet things!”

They sure do. And while many-a-brewery now dabble in dessert creations, we wanted to find the crème de la crème of pastry stout makers. Accordingly, we asked you—our readers and fans—who makes the best pastry stouts around the world.

Which breweries get the most brownie points for stuffing their stouts full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms, Cocoa Krispies, cacao nibs, marshmallow fluff, and truffles galore? Which breweries make the beers that are just the icing on the cake and the cherry on top?

We wanted to get the lowdown on who gives you the biggest sugar high, coming up with a list of breweries you should keep your eyes on when it comes to producing the upper crust of pastry stouts.

We put a question through Instagram asking: “What are your favorite pastry stout breweries? And we received over 300 responses!

After sifting through the data, we found a few overwhelming trends.

Some probably won’t surprise you. A couple might. Read on for the top nine breweries that you named most when it came to your favorite pastry stouts.

Angry Chair Brewing

Tampa, FL

angry chair brewing imperial german chocolate cupcake
Photography courtesy of Angry Chair Brewing

By far and away, the brewery that received the most love on Insta, Angry Chair, may be considered by some to have been the leading cause of our country’s sugar rush. As one of the driving forces behind pushing out epic pastry stouts, Angry Stout became known nationwide for beers like Double Stuffed Oreo Fudge Bucket and German Chocolate Cupcake Stout, whose barrel-aged version is one of Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated Imperial Pastry Stouts.

The latter is one of those rich and flavorful beers you can’t finish even though you want to, thanks to the indulgent addition of cacao and Madagascar vanilla. Expect cake batter with a bit of bourbon from the barrel and a subtle finishing of nutty toastiness from the coconut to round everything out.

In the beginning, many of Angry Chair’s legendary creations passed under the vision of former head brewer Ben Romano, whose experience creating a Tiramisu beer at Cigar City opened up his mind to the whacky world of pastry stouts.

Most recently, we named Angry Chair’s Barrel Aged Adjunct Trail (2023), a collab with Prairie Artisan Ales, to our list of “The Best Beers We Drank in 2023” for its combination of hazelnut coffee, coconut, and Bourbon barrels. “Undoubtedly, this is one of my favorite beers of all time, let alone 2023,” wrote Hop Culture and Untappd Social Media Manager Magic Muncie.

Perhaps @dcmetalchris sums it all up eloquently, “Angry Chair is the best at pastry stouts.”

Learn More

Bottle Logic Brewing

Anaheim, CA

bottle logic brewing fundamental observation 2023 pastry stout
Photography courtesy of Bottle Logic Brewing

Following at a close second behind Angry Chair with the most number of mentions, Bottle Logic made a name for itself by brewing illogically delicious barrel-aged beer, a program that started with just 12 barrels before growing to over 1,200 when we last spoke with Founder and Brewmaster Wes Parker several years ago.

Imperial stouts often go hand in hand with pastry versions, and Bottle Logic has certainly brewed some doozies over the years.

Those like Paisley Cave Complex (2018), which lands in the top ten of Untappd’s All-Time Top Rated Imperial Pastry Stouts. Or one of their most highly regarded—Fundamental Observation.

Wes told us the first release of Fundamental Observation, a barrel-aged imperial pastry stout with vanilla, was what brought the attention of the beer community; Bottle Logic responded by making their barrel program the focus of their brewery.

Hysteria ensued and, obviously, persists still today. Over the years, Fundamental Observation racked up awards, including 2015’s Best New Beer on BeerAdvocate, a gold at the 2015 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB), a Best in Show at the 2018 FoBAB, and a shoutout on VinePair’s “We Asked 14 Brewers: What’s the Best Pastry Stout You’ve Ever Had?” to name a few.

On Untappd, last year’s version of Fundamental Observation nailed a 4.45 rating, with Bottle Logic describing it as “liquid brownie batter.”

Learn More

Corporate Ladder Brewing Company

Palmetto, FL

corporate ladder brewing company dessert station banana maple wafer and dulce de leche banana marshmallow cinnamon cereal pastry stouts
A couple of Corporate Ladder’s pastry stouts from its line called “Dessert Station” | Photography courtesy of @corporateladderbrewing

We also weren’t surprised to see Corporate Ladder gain quite a few comments across the board. After all, Corporate Ladder’s collab with Bottle Logic, called Board Meeting, picked up the first-ever gold in the new “Dessert Stout or Pastry Stout” category at GABF in 2023. Corporate Ladder, somewhat of a newbie on the scene since opening in 2021, bested everyone else with Board Meeting, which ages in Old Fitzgerald barrels for eighteen months and Stagg Jr barrels for thirteen months on top of West Papua, Brazil, and Tonga vanilla beans from Ted Jones & Co. and toasted coconut.

The Palmetto, Florida-based brewery has gained an almost cult-like status for its Dessert Station series (which includes pastry sours and stouts), featuring beers like Dessert Station: Intangible and Dessert Station: Rum Barrel Aged Rainbow Sherbert. Corporate Ladder pops these pastries out of the oven so often that we can barely keep up, so you can rest assured that you’re always digging into something new and delicious whenever you visit or find one of their bottles.

Beyond just making exciting beers for the sake of hype and Instagram beer fame, Corporate Ladder is making fun beer. There’s a sense of joy and whimsy with their beer that we are hard-pressed to find somewhere else.

Learn More

The Eighth State Brewing Company

Greenville, SC

the eighth state brewing stress dream oatmeal stout
The Eighth State and Fidens Brewing collab Stress Dream (second from the right) is just one of the brewery’s outstanding stouts | Photography courtesy of @the8thstatebrewing

How does a small, three-barrel brewery in Greenville, South Carolina, make this list of the best pastry stout breweries? By quietly putting out some of the best pastry stouts in the country.

Small in size but big in flavor—that’s how we’d describe The Eighth State, which came onto our radar four years ago when we named the brewery one of “The 12 Best Craft Breweries of 2020.”

The Eighth State approaches stout making of all ilk (oatmeal, Russian, imperial, and pastry, to name a few) with a keen curiosity.

What makes this pastry-stout producer almost like the eighth wonder of breweries is their dedication to taking beers to the edge. Name another brewery that’s adding ingredients like ube, cashew, Madagascar vanilla, Ecuadorian vanilla, and toasted coconut to a single beer?

As with Barrel Aged Broom, a collaboration with WeldWerks that ranks as the fifth-highest-rated beer on Untappd out of its 509 beers, with a 4.76 rating.

Or Stress Dream, technically an oatmeal stout, but for all intents and purposes, a pastry stout, too.

Built on the idea of a Neapolitan sundae, Stress Dream includes caramel, cacao nibs, multiple types of vanilla beans, marshmallows, and strawberries.

“It’s everything you would want in a little waffle cone sundae,” says The Eighth State Brewing Founder Cameron Owen. “Imagine you’re a child, you’re at an ice cream shop, and they’re like, ‘What do you want?’ I want vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and then chocolate ice cream with sprinkles on it, a caramel drizzle, a chocolate drizzle, and maybe some cherries. Picture yourself in that moment as a child sitting outside on a hot summer day and being in that moment.”

That’s Stress Dream.

And that’s what any exceptionally perfect pastry stout should do.

Learn More

Long Live Beerworks

Providence, RI x Boston, MA

small joys imperial stout long live beerworks
Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso | Hop Culture

Long Live used to be one of our favorite under-the-radar breweries in the Northeast for its creative sours, heavenly hazies, and decadent stouts. We’re confident the cat is out of the bag, or maybe more appropriately, the pie is out of the oven on this Providence-based brewery, which opened a new location in Boston in June of 2023.

Celebrating its eighth anniversary this year, Long Live Beerworks now has quite the Rolodex of pleasurable pastry stouts.

Those like Kiss the Night Goodbye, a 4.67-Untappd-rated imperial stout aged in bourbon, apple brandy, and vanilla bourbon barrels on roasted almonds and toasted coconut. Or Barrel Aged Holy (2020), the fifth highest-rated pastry stout on Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated list.

Or Otto Notti, an imperial stout aged in bourbon and apple brandy barrels and conditioned on coffee beans, hazelnuts, vanilla beans, toasted coconut, marshmallows, and cacao nibs. Released just last month in celebration of Long Live Beerworks’ eight long years, the beer has already reached sugar-high heights with a 4.54 rating on Untappd.

Our personal favorites are Small Joys and BA Small Joys. The former is brewed with chocolate, coconut, toasted almonds, and lactose for a silky-smooth version of the iconic candy bar.

The BA Small Joys, released in early 2023, blends different Long Live Beerworks stouts in bourbon and apple brandy barrels before conditioning on that aforementioned coconut, almonds, and cacao.

With Long Live Beerworks, it’s all about the little joys in life.

Learn More

Moksa Brewing Co.

Rocklin, CA

moksa brewing bottles coffee beer
Photography courtesy of @moksabrewing | Moksa Brewing Co.

The Rocklin-based brewery’s fantastic imperial pastry stouts have been on our radar since 2018 when former head brewer Derek Gallanosa* and his partner Cory Meyer opened Moksa with primary owner Nu Boonkham.

Gallanosa brought with him a penchant for big stouts, cutting his teeth at Karl Strauss and Abnormal Beer Company, where a beer he made for Mostra Coffee’s second anniversary at an event called Renaissance called Imperial Stout M2 kicked after only thirty minutes.

“I was completely shocked,” Gallanosa told us in a previous interview. “Word spread, nobody knew what it was, but everyone at the bar was like, ‘You have to try this.’ It was definitely unexpected.”

After that, Gallanosa collabed with everyone from 3 Sons to J. Wakefield, eventually bringing his big stout game to Moksa, where they equally caught fire.

Case and point: We featured Moksa’s stouts in pieces such as “The 22 Best Stouts to Drink for International Stout Day,” “The 20 Best Beers to Drink in Spring 2021,” and “The 20 Best Beers to Drink in Winter 2020.”

And they’ve been on yours, too.

Barrel Aged Pastry Mode ranks in the top ten of Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated Imperial Pastry Stouts.

The name says it all.

Barrel Aged Pastry Mode took two years to make, spending twenty-two months in VSOP Cognac barrels before getting a dose of over 1 lb per gallon of non-toasted coconut, .75 lbs per bbl of Mexican vanilla beans, and 2 lbs per barrel of hazelnut Vietnamese coffee.

According to Moksa, Barrel Aged Pastry Mode is “a shining example of how we can marry both our nationally award-winning barrel aging program with our abilities to add layers of complexity through post-fermentation treatments.”

Go go, barrel-aged pastry mode!

*Editor’s Note: Gallanosa left Moksa to start his own brewery—Goal Brewing—last year. We named Goal Brewing one of our “Best New Breweries of 2023.”

Learn More

Equilibrium Brewery

Middleton, NY

equilibrium brewery life after death star imperial pastry stout
Photography courtesy of Equilibrium Brewery

When we praise Equilibrium, it’s usually for its scientific approach to making hazy IPAs.

“Our original and current business plan is to brew what we want to drink, which is mostly juicy IPAs,” Equilibrium Brewmaster and Owner Pete Oates told us during an interview in 2018. “We had to make a decision to focus on sours or stouts when we opened. We chose sours. We’re just now getting our dark beer program up and going.”

That was six years ago. Well, Pete, looks like that little dark beer program skyrocketed. Look up Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated Pastry Stouts, and lo and behold, Equilibrium nails the top two spots with Graceland—a 4.46-rated banana stout with peanut butter, marshmallow, and distinctly Elvis vibes. And Almond Pop, a 4.38-rated pasty stout meant to mimic Toasted Almond bars with massive amounts of slivered almonds, marshmallows, Madagascar vanilla, cake mix, and lactose.

Personally, we love Life After Death Star.

Safe to say, Equilibrium doesn’t just make exceptional hoppy things anymore; they make incredible dessert ones, too.

Learn More

Southern Grist Brewing Company

Nashville, TN

southern grist neapolitan complex pastry stout
Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso

Much like Equilibrium mastered stouts later, so too did this seven-year-old Nashville-based brewery.

Seven years ago, Kevin Antoon, Jamie Lee, and Jared Welch opened a little 1,700-square-foot brewery called Southern Grist in East Nashville with just forty-nine seats. Brewing off of four gas burners and spaghetti pots, the trio pumped out off-kilter sours, unfiltered IPAs (yes, we mean hazies), and eventually pastry stouts.

At the time, Nashville could be considered a part of the old-guard.

In a sea of old-school pales, brown ales, amber ales, stouts, and porters, Southern Grist made crazy fruited sours, adjunct pastry stouts, and IPAs with haze.

“I remember we were the first ones to make a hazy IPA in Nashville,” says Antoon, admitting he even asked if the beer should look like that. “Half the beers were sent back because they were like, hey, something’s wrong with my beer. No, it’s supposed to be hazy.”

And when the brewery opened with a fruited sour? Antoon says, “People thought we were crazy” and that no one would ever drink a red beer.

But when they began releasing incredible imperial stouts?

“When I started here, we had people wrapped around the building standing in line for bottles,” says Southern Grist Director of Marketing Jessica Gonzalez, who took the reins on running the brewery’s newly minted membership club called Loyal Fans of Grist (LFG) that features many of these pastry stout pearls.

LFG may be the cherry on top of the ever-growing frosted raspberry marshmallow sundae at Southern Grist.

And while Southern Grist is no longer the new kids on the block, they’re certainly still the cool ones.

Out of the mindblowing 1,185 beers they’ve brewed, Drewsahpuuuu ranks highest on Untappd (4.86). The imperial stout gets additions of coffee, maple syrup, coconut, vanilla, peppers, marshmallow, cinnamon, and chocolate.

But you should always keep an eye on a bunch of beers filed under Batch One Theory. A favorite of the brewery, this barrel-aged imperial stout series usually gets adjuncted and rests in super special barrels. Always limited-edition, these are the kinds of beers people would line up around the block for.

Most recently, Batch One Theory – Maple Nut Goodie dropped this past month and hit a 4.73 on Untappd. A blend of imperial stouts aged for twenty-five months in Foursquare 2009 Mark XVII rum barrels, this round of Batch One Theory conditioned on roasted peanuts, maple syrup, and toffee.

Learn More

Weathered Souls Brewing Co.

San Antonio, TX

weathered souls brewing company mo pastries mo problems
Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso

Last but certainly not least on this list, Weathered Souls burst onto the San Antonio beer scene with its hazies and barrel-aged pastry stouts in 2016.

As with Southern Grist in Nashville, Weathered Souls shocked the second-largest city in Texas to its craft beer core.

“San Antonio is a Dos Equis town,” Weathered Souls Co-Founder Marcus Baskerville once told us. But the former homebrewers’ crazy creations reverberated down South, eventually reaching epic proportions countrywide.

Over the next four years, Baskerville and Weathered Souls racked up awards, including Hop Culture’s own “Best Brewery of 2020.”

That same year, Baskerville also started a worldwide initiative called Black Is Beautiful, a project launched after the murder of George Floyd with the mission of “bringing awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily.” The collaborative beer has gone on to become one of the most successful initiatives in craft beer, with 1,601 participating breweries from all fifty states and twenty-eight countries raising over five million dollars.

On the pastry stout side, coveted ones include The Return Of, an imperial stout with Dominican cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, toasted coconut, and marshmallow fluff. And, of course, Mo Pastries, Mo Problems, a double pastry stout with Oreos, marshmallows, brownies, and Cacao nibs.

Learn More