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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Left Hand Brewing's Milk Stout

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 28, 2007 7:00PM

2007_11_botw48.jpgWhen the weather turns, we tend to switch up our beer choices. Colder weather typically calls for heartier brews: monster ales, porters, and stouts. Now we love a good stout as much as anyone, but as someone with not a drop of Irish to be found in our genealogy, we like to explore the darkest of beers.

Often, the sweet flavor and clingy, slightly sour finish in stouts comes from the addition of lactic acid to the brewing process. The folks at Left Hand Brewing take it a step further. They add milk sugar to their stout. This mellows the hearty roasted flavor of the malts used in the brewing while intensifying the sweeter flavors of coffee, chocolate and caramel that you'll taste. Because of its gravity and sweetness, the head on this beer is pretty thin, so it you're looking to create foam art (we're partial to making a star of David or a middle finger in our stout foam) you'll be SOL here. Same goes for trying to use Milk Stout as part of a black-and-tan or half-and-half. Sweeter stouts don't stay afloat stop a bitter or ale. Milk Stout is simply a great, standalone session beer, one that earned a gold medal in the sweet stout category in last year's World Beer Cup.

If you visit the Left Hand Brewing website, you'll find a good cross-section of pairings for this beer. We tasted it out at a party in Roselle a few weeks back and paired it with, of all things, a rotel tomato and cheese dip, which shows the benefits of thinking outside the box. Do the same by buying a bomber of Left Hand Brewing's Milk Stout, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."