Beer Review 0072: Left Hand Milk Stout
Longmont, Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing Company was started in 1990 after Dick Doore received a home brewing kit for Christmas. For three years, Doore passionately made batch after batch, eventually getting his college buddy Eric Wallace involved.
Doore brewed the beer while Wallace brought along travel experience of being exposed to great beers all around the world. After passing their home brew around to friends and neighbors, becoming more confident in their craft, Wallace had an idea while drinking a stout they had made: “Let’s start a brewery.” Almost, but not quite similar to: “Let’s start a website and review beer.”
The original brewery was called Indian Peaks Brewing Company, but after finding another company was using the name for a style of beer, they changed to Left Hand, in honor of Indian Chief Niwot, whose tribe lived in the local area. “Niwot” is an Arapahoe word for left hand.
The first beer Left Hand released, Sawtooth Ale, was made available in 1994 and took home a medal in the Great American Beer Fest that same year. Over the years, the company grew and expanded exponentially, eventually merging with Tabernash Brewery (located in Denver) and doubling the size of the operation.
Milk Stout is a year-round offering from Left Hand, and is considered a “Sweet Stout,” where brewers add unfermentable sugars such as lactose to the beer in order to add sweetness and body. The company says it is “udderly delightful.”
I poured the Milk Stout rather aggressively into my glass, and it produced a small head that contrasted nicely against a very dark black beer. Like most porters or stouts, this beer had ruby red edges when held in the light. Judging by those edges and the bottom of the bottle, this is a filtered beer, so no particles or sediment are present. The lacing left behind each taste was good.
In the aromatics, things were basic, but what was here was outstanding. There’s bright coffee and chocolate notes, settled into an overall sweetness. It’s a very pleasing aroma that makes you want to take a sip.
And the flavors do delight. There’s sweet coffee and a perfect balance of bitter/dark and milk chocolate. Remember those days of licking cake frosting off a knife? Well, this beer reminded me of that — and there’s just a small smidgen of smoke on the finish. This Milk Stout delights on the tongue as well, with it’s creamy texture.
Left Hand’s version of a Milk Stout is simply outstanding — while not the most complex beer in the world, this company has produced a well rounded beer that delivers core flavors that end up being complex within themselves. There’s a nice sweetness to acidity balance to be found in this one, given the chocolate and coffee flavors. Everything is just pleasant.
I’d highly recommend you give this a try.
Left Hand Milk Stout, 90 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle.