Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)
Most of the time, it works like this: I get word of an upcoming release from a brewery; the brewery starts getting word out through the press, the beer is released, and then within a certain number of weeks/months a distributor clears it for Virginia and then I get it for stock. Some of the time, a beer from a brewery popular in Virginia is made in small enough quantities that it never makes it here. Then there’s the case of Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro.
In early 2011 I started hearing about a project Left Hand Brewing of Longmont, Colorado was working on. The rumor was Left Hand was developing a new version of its popular Milk Stout, and over that summer word got out; Left Hand had been spending a lot of money in an effort to impart a nitro-tap feel into the bottles of Milk Stout, a la Guinness Draught. In September 2011, Milk Stout Nitro officially arrived with the bold proclamation of Left Hand’s intentions to “take America back” from Guinness’ popularity.
Milk Stout Nitro made its way to Chicago and Boston while I kept my ear to the ground. As a long-time Guinness fan and someone who’s always enjoyed Left Hand Milk Stout, my excitement grew as I read review after review of Nitro — yet none was arriving for us in Virginia. In all honesty I had reached the point of giving up when earlier this week I was woken up by a text from my representative of Left Hand’s distributor in Virginia: “Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro bottles have arrived!!!”
By the time this column runs, Milk Stout Nitro will be in stock at retailers around Virginia, including Arrowine. I still will have not tried it by then, so I can’t speak to its greatness personally but from what I’ve read the Nitro indeed has the thick head and creaminess of a true nitro-tap Stout. Also, most reports have the sweet vanilla notes from the lactose used a bit muted in comparison to the standard Left Hand Milk Stout.
So yes, I’ve devoted a good chunk of my week and this column space to a beer I haven’t even tried yet. But I trust the crew at Left Hand, and am looking forward to the first of what I hope will be many Milk Stout Nitro bottles this weekend. If you happen to be in the neighborhood of Arrowine this Friday night, you might just be able to check it out yourself.
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