I first heard of milk stout a year ago. I remember thinking it sounded horrible. The name alone raises a lot of questions: Is this milk and beer? Is this milk made from beer? Is this real life?
Needless to say, after a year of curiosity and seeing the stuff on the shelves of various stores, I finally caved and bought some. Left Hand Brewing Company finally broke me. You hear that Left Hand Brewing? You win! And boy am I glad.
Left Hand Brewing Company was founded in 1993 by Dick Doore and Eric Wallace in Longmont, Colorado. While the two former college buddies began with nothing more than a home brewing kit, they soon found themselves with a sizable fan base and a growing demand for their brews. They now produce more than 60,000 barrels a year and have 9 regular beers, 8 seasonal beers, and more than a dozen limited brews. For today’s review I will be drinking their popular Left Handed Milk Stout, which contains various malts and chocolate. With a 6% ABV and a full body, it promises to be a stout, err, stout. But is it good?
Like other stouts, the Milk Stout has a dark, bold, and roasted flavor. What sets this one apart are the notes of chocolate that are immediately evident upon drinking it. The chocolate notes, combined with the roasted barley, creates a coffee and cream like taste. It’s definitely not a flavor for fans of lighter beers (why would you be drinking a stout anyway?) or foofoo coffee drinks. For those of you who like bold, rich flavors, this beer is pure euphoria in a bottle.
Stouts are often smooth, and this one is no exception. While the inclusion of lactose in the beer doesn’t necessarily make it smooth, I couldn’t help thinking this beer is as smooth and silky as milk. There’s absolutely no bite or bitterness here.
It’s not often I admit to being wrong, but I will gladly do so in this case. If Left Handed Brewing Company’s Milk Stout is any indication of all milk stouts, then beer drinkers have mercy on my misguided soul. I was wrong about you, milk stout. You’re glorious. You’re smooth. You’re tasty. You’re mysterious. You’re just so damn good. Left Handed Brewing Company, congratulations on swaying me. This left-handed drinker is officially a staunch milk stout supporter. If any of you out there are like me and haven’t given milk stouts a try, don’t wait. Just do it. You won’t regret it. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, then you might.