Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day (although many drunken college kids have been celebrating for the better part of a week already), and most people will enjoy a couple of “traditional” drinks. One is green beer, typically a cheap adjunct lager mixed with green food coloring. No thank you. The other is Guinness, the beer most associated with Ireland. I don’t mind a Guinness here or there, I’ll probably have a pint tomorrow. If you’d like to celebrate with a stout but feel like something more local, you do have a few options. It seems like most craft brewers focus on Imperial and/or barrel aged stouts, while I enjoy these beers on occasion I am not usually looking to drink a bomber at 13% ABV on a Tuesday night. A few breweries still make traditional varieties of stout, either the dry Irish style stout or sweet/milk stout. Milk stouts aren’t actually brewed with milk, they typically have added milk sugar (lactose) which isn’t digested by the yeast leaving a residual sweetness. One local example is brewed by Wachusett Brewing Company, fittingly named Milk Stout. Wachusett Milk Stout is brewed in the winter and sold on draft, in 22 oz. bombers and now in 12 oz. cans.
Wachusett Milk Stout pours nearly black with a substantial sandy-colored head. The smell is all malts, dark and roasted. The taste is also very malt forward, touches of milk chocolate, mild coffee, caramel, toasted bread and just a touch of sweetness. There is also subtle but noticeable hop flavor that adds some earthy notes and balance along with a little crispness to the finish. The beer is full bodied but goes down smooth and isn’t overdone at 5.8% ABV. This is a nicely done version of a milk stout, lots of flavor without being overly sweet or boozy. I would definitely recommend Wachusett Milk Stout as a local alternative to Guinness on your St. Patrick’s Day. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Wachusett Reviews: