Left Hand Brewing Company Milk Stout

September 1, 2010

Tired. Fatigue is bound to happen when embarking upon a labor of love. See, there are a few of us downtown who thought it a wonderful idea to open up a live music venue. All the careful planning and foresight in the world can’t prepare for all the little last-minute details just before the doors open to the public for the first time. And open wide the doors did and in walked a full house. Success.

We’re obviously talking about Vinyl Music Hall. No harm in a blatantly shameless plug for my new permanent locale of employ, I don’t think. No, matter… we must soldier on and my duties to the community at large remain. I still have a responsibility to inform the public of the merits of beer, a responsibility I enjoy and anguish over. This is part of where the afore-mentioned fatigue kicks in. Most of us involved in Vinyl and 5 ½ (that’s the upscale little drinking joint at the back of the hall) are still involved in a very busy restaurant. 14 to 17 hour workdays? Yes, Virginia, there is a Tempurpedic Mattress.

Coffee is the preferred beverage of groggy mornings, that cup of mud pick me up, the jump start for the dead battery. Not for me… not ever since I was diagnosed with an irregularity of the electrical charge pumping my ticker. Even a sip of anything caffeine and I’ll feel it in five minutes. But I do miss coffee. I suppose this is why I love the Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company.

This gold medal winner from the World Beer Cup is the perfect substitute for an iced coffee. Pouring up near jet-black it props up a giant frothy tan head that disappears kind of quickly and leaves almost no real lacing. Perhaps this is due to its slippery texture. No matter… this beer’s all about aromas and flavors. Milk stouts are made using lactose extracts and, in the case of this particular beer, really show up in the nose with a natural sweetness. Add roasted grains, dark-roast coffee and crème brulee to that and the smell alone almost sells it. Keep going and you’ll find silky smooth cream-in-your-coffee goodness with a hint of milk chocolate at the end. The finish is surprisingly on the sweet side despite the expected bitterness of a dark beer. Very smooth.