Whether you’re a skim, two percent, or whole milk drinker, Jan. 11 is a day to celebrate anything and everything milk. It’s National Milk Day and, of course, Peaks & Pints celebrates with a flight of milk stouts — a flight we call Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: National Milk Day.
‘Milk stouts originated in Europe in the 1800s. The style emphasizes a malty sweetness with hints of chocolate and caramel. They are sometimes called cream stouts or sweet stouts. Brewers intensified the dark, chocolaty malt body with lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk, hence why they’re more often called milk stouts. Brewer’s yeast can’t ferment lactose into alcohol, so it hangs around to give you a rich mouthfeel and a soft, creamy sweetness, balancing out the bitter and roasted qualities typical of its cousin stouts. It makes sense. Heating milk to very high temperatures, which also has the effect of caramelizing some of the milk’s sugar, makes evaporated milk. That sugar is the same lactose found in milk stout and is subjected to similarly high temperatures during the brewing process. We also detected an interesting tang, and we can’t help but wonder if this is attributable to the lactose as well, as lactose will ferment into lactic acid in the right conditions. Whatever. Done right, you can be extraordinary, like the five milk stouts in today’s beer.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: National Milk Day
Kulshan Brewing’s Dulce Muerte Horchata Milk Stout is brewed in collaboration with El Sueñito Brewing, a gay and Mexican-owned brewery in Bellingham. Dulce Muerte is the two Bellingham breweries’ dark and sultry offering to those who have come and gone before them. This decadent horchata milk stout offers rich, subtly sweet malt notes, and whispers of Mexican cinnamon and vanilla flavors that celebrate the traditions they cherish and the people they love.
Opaque in appearance, but with a marshmallow softness, Mother Earth Brewing uses specially chosen roasted malts to impart a non-astringent, darkness that laces the glass and our mouths from first sip. Accentuated using vanilla, lactose, and a heavy dose of oats, this big-bodied milk stout further impresses by finishing with a rich coffee aroma.
Kick your peanut butter fix up a notch with Belching Beaver Brewing’s Viva La Beaver, which was formerly named Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout, and prior, Viva La Beaver and Living La Beaver Loca. Whatever the name, this Mexican imperial milk stout has notes of creamy peanut butter, cinnamon, roasted coffee, thick chocolate, cookie dough, fudge, brownie batter, cappuccino, toffee, and dark roasted malts upfront, we get a little vanilla on the mid-palate. This decadent milk stout is the definition of dessert beer.
Stone Brewing formerly hosted the American Homebrewers Association Rally — a people’s choice-style homebrew competition at their annual AHA Rally in Southern California. During the Rally, attendees sampled beer from dozens of homebrewers and voted on their favorites. The winning homebrewer’s recipe was replicated by Stone on a commercial scale, distributed around the country, and entered the annual Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. In 2014, San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker won with what would eventually be named Xocoveza for the holidays and new year. The inspiration came from Mexican hot chocolate combined with coffee. This imperial mocha stout is brewed with coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a generous amount of Stone’s in-house made chocolate.
The name Rhino Suit isn’t something the three Alesong Brewing & Blending owners wear to raise awareness and funds, but rather it’s a term dropped by their winemaker friend while Doug Coombs, Brian Coombs and Matt Van Wyk listened to his business advice. The Sonoma winemaker said you must wear a rhino suit every day to battle through walls of negativity. After the meeting, the Alesong owners knew the name of their first beer _ an imperial milk stout named Rhino Suit. It’s aged in freshly emptied Heaven Hill bourbon barrels adding smooth notes of vanilla and coconut to the rich chocolate flavors of the base milk stout. After working your way through the wax-dipped entryway, a strong rush of bourbon with milk hits the nose. On the tongue, expect creamy, milk smooth body with notes of dark chocolate and vanilla, plus some alcohol heat on the finish.