And now to review a beer that I promised to review a month ago (sorry it’s taken me so long, Charles!) but am only reviewing now because it’s only now finally beginning to get around to considering being cold enough outside to want to drink it or any of its cousins:
Name: Milk Stout
Origin: Left Hand Brewing Co., Colorado
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
I drank this: on tap at Barley’s Brewhaus, Overland Park, KS
This is one of the beers that people who don’t like beer usually do like, once they manage to get past the “it’s dark; I’ll hate it and therefore won’t try it” mentality. This makes it a good gateway beer – it’s a great beer to get non-beer-drinkers into, and one that usually makes them willing to try more.
Why does this beer work so well for that purpose? Easy: it tastes kinda like malty chocolate milk. (Not full on “Wow, this really is chocolate milk!” – that would be a Rogue Chocolate Stout or a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout or a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. However, for a Milk Stout that isn’t claiming to be “chocolate” per se, this is a truly chocolate-y beer.)
Sweet tends to gain fans the way bitter tends to drive them off: for those of you who really, really, really *hate* hops, the Left Hand Milk Stout is your beer. It’s a very sweet stout, with a nice dark chocolate/malt nose and an extra sugar hit from the added lactose.* There are some faint nutty notes mixing in with the malts as well, kinda like Nutella or something. The one flavor that’s lacking here that I usually find in this sort of stout is coffee – this, for my taste buds anyway, is an absolutely coffee-free stout (this is mark against it in my book, but some people weirdos prefer it this way).
This beer has a nicely thick, flavorful and foamy head that hangs out for about half the pint. The beer itself is dark, but not black – it goes ruby when held up to light. It’s creamy, but a little thinner than I like for a milk stout – texture-wise, I find this to be closer to dry stout territory than cream stout.
Overall, this is good, but it isn’t my favorite milk/cream stout by any means. If you can find them, go for a Bells Double Cream Stout, a St. Peter’s Cream Stout, or a Lancaster Milk Stout instead. If you can’t find any of those, this is a perfectly good beer to drink when you want something sweet. In my mind, this is a beer to drink for dessert.
* From what I’ve been able to find out, a milk/cream stout is a milk/cream stout because lactose – milk sugar – is added during the brewing process.