When in doubt, drink a stout! And what better one to start with than Lactose Panda Chocolate Milk Stout from Hop & Barrel? We sat down with co-founders Justin and Brian ( & his beard) to learn all about this deep and dark mysterious stranger we call Lactose Panda.
Where does the name Lactose Panda come from?
Justin: Naming craft beer can be next to impossible sometimes… trying to find a name that isn’t taken by a brewery, distillery, or winery ANYWHERE in the world, or some other local trendy business is difficult to say the least.
Brian: Our first taproom manager came up with the name because she likes Panda Bears. Truthfully, it’s extremely difficult to come up with beer names that aren’t taken for beer or other food and beverage, so if we find something that we all like and it’s not taken, we just go for it.
Describe this style of beer:
Justin: “Chocolate Milk Stout” is how we bill it. Classily it’s a “Milk/Sweet Stout”. It has an addition of lactose, but largely fits thr bill of a borderline sweet to tropical stout. It’s a dry (i.e. easy drinking) dark beer. Not heavy, but balanced with enough lactose/body to make it smooth while being dark. It has a subtle roast backbone to balance out the sweetness which lends to a much more complex drinking experience. Multiple layers of caramel round our the flavor of this beer.
Brian: Yah, what he said. But really, it’s a chocolate milk stout. A rich drinkable 5% stout with lactose.
Describe its unique flavor:
Justin: Caramel roast – courtesy of a very special dark caramel malt with a subtle roast character.
Brian: Tastes like a creamy chocolaty roasty beer.
What stands out to you the most during your time spent developing Lactose Panda?
Justin: This beer was inspired by a favorite from American Sky which used to be in Hudson.
Brian: This beer has been tweaked many more times than most of our beers. Brian ( & his beard) wasn’t happy with it for the first 3 batches or so.
If you could pair this beer with a food from a place around town, what would it be?
Justin: Not going to pick favorites, because every place in town has something that matches very well with an approachable dark easy drinking stout. Any dish with a hint of chocolate or caramel flavors will really shine. If you’re into the bar scene, most fried food will also shine a bit with a complex dark beer.
Brian: Anything at Dick’s Bar and Grill.