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New collaboration beer puts the 'creamy' in milk stout

One of San Diego’s best breweries has joined forces with one of L.A.’s oldest breweries on a collaboration beer that celebrates the little-known connection between the two California companies.

The name of the new beer, Dairy Tank Collaboration Milk Stout, references the converted dairy equipment that it was brewed on, tanks that Eagle Rock Brewing acquired from AleSmith in 2008 when the San Diego brewery was expanding.

The ad hoc brewhouse was built in 1995 when AleSmith was being cobbled together by a group of homebrewers going pro, and those brewers developed some of craft beer’s enduring classics (AleSmith IPA, Speedway Stout, Anvil ESB) on the reappropriated dairy hardware.

The substyle of the dark, roasty stout was born in Britain, and the style has become popular among Southern California craft brewers recently. Besides the perennial favorite Udder Love from Beachwood BBQ, Noble Ale Works introduced Man’s Milk to much acclaim (and plenty of crass jokes), while Golden Road’s vegan-friendly take on the style, Almond Milk Stout is coming soon.

Milk stouts (also called “cream stouts” or “sweet stouts”) are so named due to the addition of milk sugar -- lactose -- during the brewing process. Brewer’s yeast can’t process lactose into alcohol, and the finished brews have enough unfermented sugars left to impart a distinct sweetness and fuller mouthfeel.

Dairy Tank is a bit of a departure from the traditionally lower-alcohol milk stouts; it’s over 10 percent alcohol! But all the extra malt needed to bump up the booze provides a wonderful richness and depth, and the beer hits all the notes you’d like to see alongside lactose sweetness. The abundance of coffee- and cocoa-like flavors are further enhanced by the decadent, coating texture of the brew.

The beer is available now on draught at the Eagle Rock Taproom and other bars around town, and you’ll be able to try the beer and meet the people from Eagle Rock Brewery tonight at pint night held at City Tavern’s new location in downtown's FIGat7th complex. It also comes in 22-ounce bottles from Eagle Rock Brewery (the eye-catching label was even based on the original documentation from the mid century dairy equipment), but don’t wait too long to track some down. Even though it is one of the biggest bottling runs in the ERB’s history, the beer is going quick.

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