“Milk is for babies! When you grow up you have to drink beer.” So declares Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1977 film, “Pumping Iron,” (Seriously, it’s a classic. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your Netflix.) But the decision of whether to drink milk or beer now seems as anachronistic as Lou Ferrigno. The craft beer boom has injected new life into the milk stout, an English classic that withered with the advent of World War II and the milk rationing that followed. But today, the sheer number of milk stouts available on the shelves signals an industry trend not unlike the one that brought sliders out of White Castle and into fancy restaurants.
Milk stouts, trendy as they may be, are definitely here to stay. Just last night, we enjoyed a Lancaster Milk Stout on draft at Wonderland. Not the ideal choice for a hot summer night, but we digress… The Lancaster is a delicious, thick, coffee-infused beer that packs an almost chocolate milk-type flavor, but not alcohol; it’s only 5.3 ABV, meaning you can drink several and still walk out on your own two feet. Others in the genre include Left Hand’s Milk Stout—one of the more heralded beers of its kind, but one that was a little thin when we tried it at Savor. Maybe it was the pour. We’re willing to give it another go. A surefire winner, though, comes from one of our favorite regional breweries, Duck-Rabbit. See our report from the Duck-Rabbit tasting at Rustico in May. If you have other favorite milk stouts we’ve failed to mention, please chime in.