5.2% Vanilla Milk Stout
The beer world is filled with stories, both actual and apocryphal, of beers being named for wild and unusual reasons or as a result of strange-but-true circumstances but an insect invasion possibly takes the cake. I’ll let the brewer tell the story below while budding young brewers wanting to go out on their own ponder this; just three months after opening the doors, brewer Craig Wealands found himself in the enviable position of accepting an AIBA for Best Hybrid Beer. Luck? Good fortune? Bribery? Think again. A long and arduous apprenticeship under, among others, Ian Watson and Keith Grice was as responsible for the success as was any other factor.
And to the beer;
The Thirsty Crow blog (website under construction) tells the full story;
“The Vanilla Milk Stout was brewed as a joke, which then turned into a masterstroke especially after it picked up the Trophy for Best Specialty Beer at the Australian International Beer Awards in 2011. In February 2011 Wagga and particularly and bizarrely 31 Kincaid St (!!) were inundated with a Cricket Plague – they were everywhere; and every time a customer would open the door a herd of them would follow into the building – with a good percentage landing into people’s drinks. At the time we didn’t have a dark beer on tap so I decided to brew a Stout to camouflage the equally dark crickets if they jumped into a punters glass for the following months!!? Fortunately the Crickets moved on but the Vanilla Milk Stout was here to stay!”
James Smith, The Crafty Pint;
“The beer that was an instant hit for Thirsty Crow, collecting a trophy at the Australian International Beer Awards just weeks after the brewery opened. It was Craig Wealand’s first stab at a milk stout, one to which he added vanilla from Madagascar until he got it juuuuust right. He’s gone on to make imperial sweet stouts since, while the Vanilla Milk Stout has gone on to become a cult classic in the Aussie craft beer world, appearing in many aficionados end of year best lists.”
Drunken Speculation discovered this special brew during Good Beer Week last year;
“During this year’s Hottest 100 countdown, the Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout was a mystery. I’d had the other nine and we’ve written positive reviews (mostly) for eight of them. Where did this come from? It quickly became apparent that no one in Brisbane whose opinion I would value had ever tried it. I made a mental note.
Bam! Tasting paddles at the Rainbow Hotel during Good Beer Week offered the opportunity to pick up the – supposedly – tenth best beer in the country. I was hooked as soon as I got my nostrils over it. I’m sucker for sweet beers and I’m sucker for a good malt profile. A strong dose of vanilla with a heaping of lactose on top of a stout pretty much sounds like a beer that was made explicitly for me. Given this beer’s reputation, my mind wasn’t blown…except that it totally was.”
The Critics’ Choice has found a spot for the Vanilla Milk Stout in each year it has been eligible.
“If you love stout, milkshakes and making love, this beer is for you. Thirsty’s Vanilla Stout is the new best way to bring mainstreamers to craft – men, women, old, young (well, not too young). Who doesn’t love a beer that is super smooth, creamy, chocolatey and with a good dose of balancing bitterness?” [Dan Hampton]
In the following year it made the number 28 position.
“No crickets were harmed in the making of this beer.” [Pete Mitcham]
This year it snuck in at #100 as well as polling well again, again, again in The Local Taphouse Hottest 100.