This week I came across a tweet from Meridian Pint’s Jace Gonnerman about a Kolsch he’d just tapped at the Brookland Pint location in D.C., unaware that lactose was in it.
I figured it was a sign to get around to the subject of lactose — What beers it’s in, if it’s noted on the label and if not, why not? Also, why use it? While there is a “traditional” use of lactose in beer — though even that’s arguable; we’ll get to that in a moment — it usually comes up now relative to Milkshake IPAs, Pastry Stouts and Dessert Sours.
Let’s learn a little about the usage of lactose in beers then and now.
The commonly accepted origin of lactose in beer traces back to the early 20th century, with the advent of Milk Stout. Like many of the styles we know today, Milk Stout was largely a marketing-driven creation.
A quick aside: if the theme of my beer writing through the end of my first stint at Arrowine was “Beer is History,” the theme of this run is “Beer is Marketing.”
In the late 1800s, Stouts grew weaker in strength and came to be recommended as restorative, nourishing drinks — the kombucha/wheatgrass juice/Master Cleanse of its time. Very Goop. Mackeson’s patented the Milk Stout in 1907, with the idea that lactose = milk = health = even healthier Stout! Science!
These days, you’ll find lactose not only Stouts but IPAs, Goses, Berlinerweisse and apparently even the odd Kolsch. An unfermentable sugar, lactose can add richness to a beer and take the edge off of harsher, more intense flavors while retaining the brewer’s target ABV. Lactose also has less perceptible sweetness than sucrose, so it can do all that and help keep the final beer from being cloying.
The biggest issue surrounding lactose in beer of course comes from the fact that many people are lactose intolerant. Omnipollo’s Henok Fentie, who along with the folks at Tired Hands can be credited with/blamed for the Milkshake IPA (depending on your point of view), is lactose intolerant himself but claims he can have a couple without incident.
But his experience isn’t everyone’s, which is why clear labelling is becoming more important to more consumers.
Stillwater is good at putting lactose use front and center on its labels; Commonwealth Brewing is generally reliable on this too, though I recently discovered its Villuminati Gose, a favorite of mine, has lactose through the brewery’s website and marketing info, not its label.
Every Perennial Brewing Stout is a Milk Stout, which I didn’t learn until I was doing research this week and came across this website that offers shopping advice for vegans. Sure enough, “Contains Lactose” is on every bottle/can, but I didn’t notice until I knew to look for it.
So, who labels their lactose use clearly, who doesn’t and why/why not? With luck, I’ll be able to answer that… next time.
Upcoming Arrowine Beer Tastings:
Friday, June 21, 5 7 p.m. — Abita Brewing Co. with Clayton Daniels
Saturday, June 29, 1-4 p.m. — Port City Brewing Company with Will Bruder (Helles Release Event)
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m. — Sean Michaels from The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m. — Three Notch’d with Dave Keuhner
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m. — Stephanie Boles with Old Ox Brewing
As Arlington County continues collecting feedback on the preliminary concept plan to turn Langston Blvd into a “Green Main Street” over several decades, a few disagreements have emerged. Some say…
RSVP to learn about the Forestry and Natural Resources Plan during the virtual open house tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Within the first five minutes of Netflix’s new series Partner Track, Arlington native and Yorktown High School graduate Alexandra Turshen already has her “boss” moment by telling the new paralegal…
The Arlington Art Truck is back this fall starting October 1 with an exhibit focused on Arlington’s birds.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!
Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above. In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?
All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).
When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM.
Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying