Last St. Paddy’s Day, I implored you to forgo Guinness and other mass-produced Irish imports for local brews that pack more freshness and flavor. One year on, my opinion hasn’t changed, and our local beer scene continues to improve and evolve. My first choice, in fact, on everyone’s favorite drinking holiday would surely be Victory’s Donnybrook Stout.
Donnybrook, however, like many other Irish-style stouts, is one of those creamy, distinctive beers that is only available on nitro tap (meaning that nitrogen is used instead of carbon dioxide in the carbonation process). Because nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, beers made in this method tend to have a deceptively thick mouthfeel and offer that distinctive cascade up the glass after being poured.
Guinness, of course, as well as several other internationally-known nitrogenated beers, has long made its signature stout available in a can with a widget at the bottom that approximates the effect of the nitro tap. For those of us who want to enjoy these wonderful beers at home, these macro-brewer widget cans have been our only option.
Until Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout Nitro, that is. These guys, see, have somehow figured out how to bottle nitrogenated beer. With no widget. Once opening the bottle, you just turn it completely upside down (over a glass!) and let it vigorously and completely pour out. If done correctly, a classic nitro cascade with be only moments away… as will the taste of a freaking delicious stout. This baby is fresh, and smooth, and chocolatey. Bottom line, this is gulping beer.
I must, of course, point out that Left Hand is not a local brewery (it’s in Denver, CO). It is, however, an American brewery, much closer to Philly than Dublin, and heck, they’re even calling this beer “America’s Stout”. Bold words? Not behind this deliciousness.