Beer blogging Friday is a joint effort by beer writers Webwide to blog on a specific topic. Last Friday, the topic was stout. I missed the first round, but it got me thinking.
Thanks to the power of marketing money, stout in the USA is synonymous with Guinness. The Irish giant owns St. Patrick’s Day, and is now trying to create its own holiday.
Guinness typifies Irish stout. Dry, slightly sour, with a moderate alcohol content served, of course with nitrogen combination. A freshly-dispensed Irish stout, with its cascading tumult of bubbles and puddinglike head, is possibly the prettiest sight in the world of beer.
But the real gem of the stout kingdom comes from the other side of the Irish sea. From London, actually; the home of milk stout.
First brewed in the 1870s as a nutritional beer, Milk stout is sweeter and thicker in body than its Irish cousin. The brew contains lactose, which doesn’t ferment and adds the extra sweetness.
Around the turn of the 19th century, Milk stout was a signature London beer, much like porter was during the 1700s. Like many English beers, however, the changing of tastes away from real ale led to the near extinction of the style. The style is more or less recrated by several American microbrewers, but it’s more of a dabbling than a serious attempt to revive the style.
The most prevalent tradional example is Mackeson’s XXX Milk Stout. The Mackeson company and its US distributors have done an admirable job in making this beer available, so you can probably find it in your favorite specialty beer store. It’s a treat on a cold winter night.
I’ll be sure to join in for the next round of Beer Blogging Friday. It’ll be fun to read other’s takes, and it’s always easier to post an entry when someone else is thinking up the ideas!