Sort of as I warm-up (I think), Hop Talk has a shirt blurb on the history of stout as a beer style.
“Stout” could be applied to any style, meaning it was not uncommon to see a “stout pale ale”. In 1820 Guinness began producing a stout porter. As time went on, “stout” came to apply only to porter and, eventually, the “porter” part of the name dropped off.
Also, of note, over at the Portland Beer Blog, a post begins detailing New Old Lompoc's upcoming seasonals, which include a “blonde stout” dubbed Bombshell Blonde.
Bombshell is brewed to a stout recipe without the dark grains that give stouts their coffeelike bitterness and color. It uses oats, which give it a dry hay sensation on the palate and a quenchingly dry finish.
Sounds like something a homebrewer would make. I'm quite curious how that would turn out.
All that's left to do now is decide what stout to try. You can help Bryan decide his choice over at the Brew Lounge.
I'm wondering, do I drink Thursday night and post on it Friday, or try to do it all in the course of Friday evening?