If you ever had the pleasure of driving through Elizabethtown, PA you likely got a whiff of what are two of the biggest industries in Central PA; chocolate and dairies. One is decidedly more pleasant than the other. On breezy days the roasted chocolate aroma can waft for miles around from the M&M Mars plant. It is always welcome and inviting. Central PA has an abundance of chocolatiers. These include M&M, Hershey and preferred by me, Wilbur in Lititz.
In order to supply these plants there are plenty of dairy cows in the area. Driving around Lancaster county back roads gives you a real sense of just how big the dairy industry is. They are everywhere.
These two facts makes Lancaster Brewing Company’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout a great representative for its namesake. I procured a 22 oz. bomber and poured the dark brown opaque beer into a snifter glass which brought forth a light brown to tan head that laced the glass lightly. Aromas of bitter chocolate like a 70% cacao dark chocolate bar are accompanied by a soft sweetness and is inviting. Lancaster Brewing created this with cacao nibs and it is evident with every sip. This beer is chocolate through-and-through.
It has a velvety texture in the mouthfeel and is thick without the greasiness of some imperial stouts. The lactose sugars are evident in the finish along with hints of caramel and roasted malts. The finish is long, of again, cacao. The beer tastes of Hershey’s syrup but has more of a refined chocolate expression in the long lasting and pleasant finish. This beer is beyond smooth in texture and mouthfeel with 6.8% ABV that is never evident or intrusive.
Deep, dark chocolate again and again given as a single note played over and over. But it works in the same way Portlandia got cacao to work as an example of repetition as comedy. If you like chocolate, especially semi-sweet or bitter chocolate you will love this beer. The chocolate notes are divided up as you drink. In that the front it is sweeter and along the lines of milk or semi-sweet chocolate. The more bitter and refined dark cacao flavors come in the finish to wrap things up with a flourish. It’s dynamic yet monochromatic not unlike Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition: White on White. This libation is not deconstructing what it is to be “beer” as monochromatic art can change both the concept of abstraction and art but it does let you explore the complexities of doubling down on a singular flavor profile.
Double Chocolate Milk Stout is an excellent dessert beer. As local strawberries are soon in season, I would highly recommend this as a pairing or do as I plan to the next time and drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in for a beer float. It can be found on tap or in 12 oz bottles, but I would spring for the 22 oz. bomber and split it with a friend; it’s just right.
Lancaster Brewing Company’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout gets the Bearcat Seal of Approval.