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The Hops: Left Hand Brewing Company Milk Stout


Not only does the March equinox mark the change of seasons, the transition to spring swings beer cravings back toward the light, citrusy and often hoppier brews enjoyed during T-shirt and shorts weather. But screw that. There is tons of time for IPAs and hefeweizens later. March means St. Patrick’s Day, when the Chicago River turns a lighter green and Irish stout reigns supreme.

But instead of drinking one of the Irish Big Three–Guinness, Murphy’s or Beamish–I recommend honoring Saint Patrick by raising a pint of Milk Stout, brewed by the Left Hand Brewing Company.

Milk Stout is a tasty compromise: It offers the bitter, roasted coffee and chocolate characteristics dark beer hardliners expect and the “stout light” creaminess and mass drinkability offered by the Big Three. When poured into a pint glass, Milk Stout is a jet black that is a shade away from being opaque. Out of a bottle, a couple fingers of creamy, tan head develop and dissipate slowly to leave a bubbly lacing, thin film and ring around the age. On draft, a thick Guinness-like cap rises and keeps its form throughout the pint.

Milk stout has a delicious chocolate aroma, which is a blend of both roasted dark chocolate and sweet milk chocolate. Along with a subtle roasted coffee presence, a little vanilla, toffee and nutmeg are mixed in as well. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy and the taste has a backbone of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. However, the bitterness, which scares many away from stout, is countered and balanced with the sweetness of milk chocolate and milk.

  • Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
  • Alcohol content: 6 percent ABV
  • Food pairings: Anything with chocolate will make a good pairing, but Left Hand offers two recipes using Milk Stout on its website: Chocolate Milk Stout Cake and Milk Stout Barbecue Sauce on Beef Short Ribs.
  • Where to buy: John’s Grovery, New Pioneer Co-op and most area Hy-Vee stores.
  • Price: $10 per six-pack.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

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