- Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout: From Kiuchi Brewery, Naka-gun, Japan. I think I am in luck. This stout pours a dark chestnut mocha head that resolves fairly quickly to a rim. Milk chocolate aroma. This is a dandy light beer if you like light beer. There isn't the body you might expect from a stout but that is maybe a relative matter. There is plenty of roast malt and minty hop. I can think of at least one lighter stout that that has way less to offer - and especially oddly so given how nice its sibling porter is. There is a quite a tang to this beer which at mid-mouth veers a little close to a cola note but all is saved or maybe salvaged with the finish and its creamy yeast note. Not at all as sweet as it might be, the use of lactose is very reserved. Given the thinness and a tang is maybe more than it could be, One full third of BAers say no. If someone had called this a chocolate lambic, it might pull that off...well, ok, not really well. I would like to try this again colder on a hot day. You know, that tang would suit a white beer...which is good as I picked up a large format on of those from the same brewer.
- Mother's Milk Stout: from Keegan Ales in Kingston, New York. A notch darker and another notch fuller under dark cream foam and rim. This is a smokey, coffee and chocolate stout with not a lot of lactose if the name was to indicate a milk stout...which it is. There is a different sort of tang, far less vegetative than in its Japanese neighbour - more from the roast barley burnt toastiness. The yeast has a firmer presence as well, but also creamy. A good licorice seam through the middle of the coffee and chocolate that is quite attractive. The brewer says there are some oats on there, too. All the BAers love it. Really attractive. And the brewery sponsors a hockey team. You have to like that.
- O'hara's Celtic Stout: from the Carlow Brewing Company, Carlow, Ireland. Nothing brings out the sweet roundness of a milk stout than trying an dry Irish stout next to it. Darkest mahogany under rich mocha lacing foam. Unlike many roasty stouts and certainly Guinness, though, I am not thinking this has minty Nothern Brewer hops as there is pretty much only twig and even a note of German steel to off-set the roast. Effect: brushfire aftermath. In the nose when you raise the glass, there is also an aroma I do not associate with stout but I can't put my finger on it - there is smoke and cream but also an licorice oiliness that might be more expected in a Baltic porter. Also a sweet grassiness that reminds me of Polish bison grass vodka which I only know about because I once worked in Poland and had no TV. In the swish in the mouth, there is also a lightness...water. I suppose this is to be expected at 4.3%. Desiccating finish. Yet only two out of a hundred BAers do not like this beer. If I had placed it next to other dry stouts I might even be with them. Placed next to a plate of sweet plump raw oysters I might be thinking that the 2% are nuts. Steam some Digby scallops over this stuff with a little dulse and you might be in heaven.
Stouts: Three Stouts From Three Continents
Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.
Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."
Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."