I didn’t really intend to stay, but some homebrewers I’d been chatting with at another brewery waved me in. It was late enough in the evening that the 2nd band was getting ready to play a few licks. The menu board read “returning favorite.” I was ready to head home, but the belligerent #judgy side of me said, “yeah, we’ll see about that.” It was a stout, so I saved it for last as always. The other beers lay largely unfinished, sacrifices to the Untappd Gawds and a full and happy tummy. Then the first wisps hit my nostrils, and following an arched eyebrow I raised the little glass to my lips. A whimper followed…
Charm, Crooked Run Brewing (Sterling, VA)
Milk Stout, 7% ABV, 28 IBU
Presentation: Crowler pour into a stein.
Appearance: Coffee-like velvety brown with ruby seguing to ocher base. A nice dash of late-forming head eventually leaves some lace trails here and there.
Taste: It’s a full out lactose assault as soon as you stick your nose over the glass, aided by some rich creamy chocolate. This could’ve been artisanal Yoo-Hoo or Nesquik for all I knew; it’s that sumptuous and sweet. Much of that profile carries over into a body that’s creamy but not frothy, and which finally surrenders into some full-throated malts and more traditional cacao/dark chocolate elements. As the beer warms the dark chocolate becomes more assertive, as well. I wouldn’t make a day of drinking this simply for fear of Type II Diabetes, but this is by far the richest, most flavorful Milk Stout I’ve come across.
Mouth Feel: So much lactose across the nose throws up a red flag, but thankfully the sweetness is more milk chocolate, and the cocoa dances all the way back across the tongue with some bitter elements towards the finish. It does adhere to your mouth, but isn’t especially cloying.
Overall: This was an unlooked-for treat on what was supposed to be a quick stop at Crooked Run. You know, a quick flight to catch you up on what you’ve missed the past few months, a few notes in the head, and then dash back home. I ended up nursing my little 4 oz. pour through almost a half hour of songs, tucked into a corner of the bar and pondering, “am I really about to give a Milk Stout a perfect score?!” My other growlers being full up from a previous stop, I decided to snag a crowler and make up my mind a few days later. The full pour revealed that one little flaw, with the beer’s sweetness giving way as it warmed up. But man, fresh out the fridge this is as good as it gets.