Beer Shake with Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout

Denver Based Photographer David Hilgier

A few evenings ago, we decided to go out on a bit of a limb and create “beer shake/float” made from the combination of Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout and a couple of scoops Dreyer’s Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Unfortunately, the results of our experiment were a little less than desirable.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, Left Hand’s Milk Stout is a solid beer. Creamy and very drinkable, this beer has been a staple of the cold winter months of 2011 (I believe the first time I had this beer was around the New Year). As good as it is poured chilled from my beer fridge and consumed in the comfort of my home, this beer shines freshly drawn from a tap pressurized with nitrogen. Its velvet smoothness is only amplified by this gas with a texture similar to a pint of Guinness and a flavor a bit sweater with hints of toffee and chocolate. If your stomping grounds are the metro area of Denver, we’ve had the beer served on nitrogen at the Yard House on the 16th Street Mall and at Pasquini’s in the Highlands. Over the course of consuming a fresh pint of this beer, it was hard not to draw comparisons to a milk shake, therefore, we decided to mix the beer with some ice cream to see if the idea was just a pipe-dream or not (I also believe that we saw this item on the menu at the Yard House, if not somewhere else).

As good as the idea sounded, we weren’t all that impressed with the results produced. Similar to the production of a root beer float, an excessive amount of foam was produced upon pouring the beer on top of a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. Once the foam from our libation experiment subsided, it was bottoms up with the cloudy milk chocolate color concoction. For whatever reason, I found the taste of the result to be quite bitter and the addition of ice cream amplified the bitterness of the hops used in the Milk Stout. The beer by itself was sweeter than our shake. My main concern about doing this would that it would quickly curdle like a Irish Car Bomb if not consumed rapidly enough. The addition of the beer to the ice cream did produce a slight amount of curdling, but no where near enough to warrant chugging the mixture.

To say our “beer shake” was good, would be giving the idea too much credit. To say it was bad, would not be telling the whole truth. Unfortunately, the combination of Left Hand’s Milk Stout with some ice cream did little to amplify the merits of a really good beer as we hoped it would have. In the end, a good beer is a good beer and so to is a bad beer. Try if you must, but Left Hand’s Milk Stout is, without question, best consumed on its own.

Drink up.