How we come across brands can be an interesting story in it’s own right, especially if they’re one that you’ve come to view as a favorite. With Left Hand Brewing, I do have a soft spot for them, as I’m a left-hander, and I’ve got family where Left Hand calls home (Longmont, CO). How I started working with the brand to get review samples, that’s a different story altogether.
If anything, it’s a cautionary tale. You see, I was at my local shop looking for something to bring to an exchange, and ran across a Left Hand product I’d not seen before (and there was a good reason for that), Introvert IPA. I grabbed that to try, and quickly learned that, when opening them up, they all but exploded out. Turns out, the store was selling some super old product (and I didn’t check the dates on the carton, as I do now). Long story short, I reached out to the brand to let them know (and they could follow up with their distributor) and got it sorted. As a silver lining in there, it got me in touch with the friendly marketing folks there, and here we are today, telling you about their beers.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been heavy into trying different IPAs (hazy or otherwise) as that seems to be the big thing being produced. And hey, I like a good IPA, and the juicy fruit most have lend quite well to summertime. The weather is cooling here in Chicago, though, which means it’s time to think about mixing stuff up, and getting back to checking out some of those other styles. So, why not a stout?
Back before I was “in” to beers (and just enjoyed them) porters and stouts were my go-to’s. The darker, the better. But then flavor profiles started to fall a little flat on my tongue, and I decided I’d give these new (to me) IPAs a try. That, friends, is how my road to getting into beer (and the community) started out. But I still like a good stout, especially if it does something interesting with the flavors. With the Left Hand White Russian Nitro, it’s safe to say something interesting is happening.
Let’s take a quick step back and answer a question – what is a White Stout, exactly? Other than a total mind trip (you see stout on the can, and it pours a much different color than you expect), it’s a change-up in the recipe. Instead of dark, roasted malts (which lend that dark color we expect), you get things like coffee, cacao nibs, or vanilla beans subbing in. In the case of the Left Hand White Russian Nitro, you’ve got two of those popping in, coffee and vanilla.
So, back to that mind trip. When I first cracked open the Left Hand White Russian Nitro, you get that crisp hiss that you’re used to from a nitro can, and that continues on when you pour it into a glass, with a milky cloudiness to the pour, that lifts up to a thick head. It’s trippy seeing that on a golden-colored beer, however, rather than on a dark-as-oil one. So, that’s your first indication (especially if you missed all the Lebowski-inspired artwork on the can) that this is no ordinary stout.
Once in the the glass, the Left Hand White Russian Nitro has what I would describe as a bean-y nose. Yes, coffee is in the mix, but it’s not coffee beans I’m talking about. To me, it was reminiscent of when you open up a can of beans (think garbanzo or navy beans), something I’ve not noticed before on any brew. When you get that first sip, you do get a mild hit of coffee up front that flows away pretty quickly. That’s quickly replaced by vanilla and chocolate as the super-smooth stout makes its way across your tastebuds.
For my first experience with a white stout, I was very pleasantly surprised. Sure, I missed some of that dark heaviness from a traditional stout, but this is a way for someone who doesn’t want to chew their beer to try out a stout. In the same way, if you’re not a fan of overpowering coffee in their beer (me, I like strong coffee flavors as well), this is a way to try it out in a much milder form. For me, I found the Left Hand White Russian Nitro to be very drinkable, and gave it a solid 3.5/5 in my own book. Perfect for kicking back after a long day at the bowling alley, I’d say. But, that’s just, like, my opinion man. lefthandbrewing.com
- Golden hue
- Crisp white head
- Bean-y nose
- Coffee up front
- Silky smooth
- Hint of chocolate
- Coffee is there but mild
Details from Left Hand
- Collection: Seasonal
- Style: White Stout
- Color: Bronze
- Body: full
- ABV: 8.9%
- IBUs: 20
- Malt: 2 row, Munich, CaraFoam, Rolled Oats, Naked Oats
- Hops: CTZ
- Other: Lactose, Coffee, Vanilla
- Pkg: Keg, 4pk 13.65oz cans
Written by Patrick Kansa
Patrick is a big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches, and beverages. You can find his work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile ; you can find him on Twitter and Instagram as @PatrickWatches.