dsc01169To be fair, I’ve never had a milk stout before, and wasn’t sure what to expect from Minneapolis Town Hall’s Festivus. Sounded interesting, and from some recent comments from fellow Twin Cities beer blogger dirtyspeed, I thought I’d head over and give a few of their holiday seasonals a try. I was actually more interested in their Jubilation IPA and Grinch’s Grog pale ale, but they were fresh out when I visited.

This review is a culmination of several sessions with Festivus, as the first glass I had didn’t give me a very good first impression. But, I eased into it over a couple different evenings, and grew to appreciate what they’ve done.

Pours with a nice creamy tan head, and very aromatic like a rich porter with deep roasted malt notes. A little bit of chocolate. But then you get the very slightest smell of curdled milk, which is a direct result of the lactose used in the brewing process. For many, that might be a turn off, and it was to me to be perfectly honest, but knowing this is the style I pressed on hoping things would improve. Historically speaking, milk stouts were originally brewed near the turn of the 20th century and given to nursing mothers as they were thought to be nutritious. Completely irresponsible knowing what we do today, but remember, one of the most famous taglines of the era was “Guinness, It’s Good For You!”

The flavor is very robust. Again, a very pleasant porter/stout characteristic of smoky malt and sweet caramel mixed with that tell-tale lactose finish. Kind of like drinking that first gulp of really cold and refreshing milk only to realize a split second later it’s turned. That might be a bit harsh, but once I got over that part of it the beer actually started to grow on me a bit. Very creamy and rich mouthfeel, a pleasant texture which I enjoyed.

Based on Festivus, I’m going to have to say that milk stouts are probably not my thing. I also recognize Town Hall can’t brew up a masterpiece every time they fire up the brew kettle. So overall an interesting little stout that I may or may not try again. 

Rating: B-