We can't think of any category of beer that is more closely associated with a single brand than the venerable stout. Of course, there's nothing wrong with Guinness. It's just not the only stout out there. There are stouts out now that are even "gooder," to reference an old Guinness ad campaign, and they're all made in the United States. These substyles include some of the richest and most exciting beers in the domestic craft scene. Stouts have always been famous for their dark hue and their roasty flavors and aromas, but U.S. brewers also add oatmeal, chocolate, and even oyster shells to provide that extra oomph. This St. Patrick's Day, challenge yourself to try a different kind of stout. And feel free to go ahead and order a shot of Irish whiskey with it (Jameson or Bushmills will be just fine). Some traditions still can't be topped.
Left Hand Milk Stout
Colorado's Left Hand Milk Stout has a sweet creaminess to go along with its roasty flavor. The addition of lactose – a sugar derived from actual milk – provides the characteristic sweetness, as well as some extra body. Since the lactose sugar is unfermentable, it doesn't add any additional alcohol. At 4.4%, this is an ideal chaser. [lefthandbrewing.com]