Stouts have long suffered from a perception problem. They’re often dismissed as dark and heavy, the tint clouding the opinions of many. That’s because few brews can match the creamy majesty of a milk stout, fall’s easiest-drinking fridge stuffer. These dark beauties are brewed with lactose, which imparts sweetness and incomparable richness. The style has caught on with craft brewers, who have made milk stouts their newest flavor playground by adding different ingredients like oats, coffee and vanilla beans. Here are five releases milking the trend.
From left to right:
Left Hand Brewing Company Milk Stout Nitro
Taking a page from Guinness, the Coloradans goosed their mocha-touched milk stout with nitrogen, turning the beer into a roasty milkshake. To achieve the proper cascading effect, pour hard.
Hardywood Gingerbread Stout
Brewed in Virginia, the silky holiday-season delicacy gets its Christmas-cookie verve from local baby ginger and wildflower honey, as well as Vietnamese cinnamon and vanilla beans from Madagascar.
4 Hands Brewing Co. Madagascar
The supercharged St. Louis milk stout (at 9.3% abv, it means business) slumbers in Bourbon barrels alongside whole vanilla beans, turning the chocolaty elixir into a slow-sipper fit for a snifter.
Burial Beer Co. Skillet Donut Stout
To create this breakfast-ready sipper, Asheville’s Burial blends North Carolina malt with cold-pressed coffee and plenty of milk sugar. Fittingly, the bittersweet java stout jives well with chocolate donuts.
Tallgrass Brewing Co. Buffalo Sweat
Packed with roasted barley, oats and cream-derived lactose, this Kansas-brewed treat tastes like a chocolate brownie by way of the beer aisle. You’ll love the gentle sweetness and latté creaminess.