When it comes to cold weather, I tend to gravitate towards darker beers. Sure, I still enjoy the hoppy IPA (and especially winter IPAs), but the darker brews tend to settle a bit heavier, and those just seem to fit for sipping while relaxing under a blanket and watching a movie while the wind howls outside. You could go for your basic stout, or you could go for a more adventurous flavor with something like the Left Hand S’mores Milk Stout.
For Left Hand, their Milk Stout is a classic, a calling card for the brand. If I’m not into their flavored ones, I really like the Nitro version. Of course, today, we’re all about the flavor. Frankly, that’s one of the more interesting things that brewers are doing. They’re not just tossing in artificial flavors to get to something approximating what the label says. No, they’re actually putting those ingredients (aka adjuncts) in as part of the brewing process – here, we’ve got liquid cacao going in (for the chocolate) as well as marshmallow flavoring. To get the graham flavor, they’ve made some adjustments to their malts to sort of accentuate that a bit more.
Pouring the Left Hand S’mores Milk Stout into a glass, you’re greeted with a very roasty, malty nose. I suppose that puts one in mind of roasting the marshmallow. Taking a sip, you definitely get hit with the chocolate notes, with some much subtler hints of marshmallow following after. This winds down to a very smooth finish, as you’d expect from a good stout.
You’ll notice in the photos that there was not a lot of head in the glass, and that’s something I noted for the Left Hand S’mores Milk Stout – there just was not a lot of carbonation. It wasn’t flat, but it also wasn’t tickling your tongue as you drank it. While it tasted just fine, it did make me wonder if the Nitro treatment for this beer would pep it up a bit. All in all, it made for a great cold-weather sip, and I can also see it pairing well with a summertime campfire. lefthandbrewing.com
Details from Left Hand Brewing
|STYLE||Stout Brewed with Cacao with Toasted Marshmallow Flavor Added|
|MALT||2-Row, C-75, Rolled Oats, Flaked Barley, Honey Malted Barley, Dark Wheat, Chocolate Malted Barley|
|HOPS||CTZ, US Goldings|
|OTHER||Cacao, Lactose, Toasted Marshmallow Flavor|