A milk stout that not only avoids the sweetness trap, but that also steers clear of the peanut-butter pitfall (and is increasingly available around here)
I know I say this every time we write about a beer that’s not from Massachusetts—it must be our collective guilty liberal conscience—but it’s still worth re-stating that we don’t often write about cans or really anything at all that isn’t from the Bay State.
Basically, if we’re highlighting something from beyond the Commonwealth, it probably isn’t basic at all. Not in the negative way at least, though it may be basic in form. Kind of like Mast Landing’s Gunner’s Daughter Milk Stout, which is a rather simple natural-flavor brew packing flavorful peanut butter, dark chocolate, and coffee that is also very complex in its brilliance.
And I promise, I’m not overusing the b-word. I nearly broke my ankle when I saw this Maine-brewed recipe that I’ve enjoyed several times in the lobster state in a craft-beer cooler east of Worcester. I also found it a few weeks before—my first date with Gunner’s Daughter was arranged by the top-notch purveyors at Bin Ends in Braintree—but regardless of who hooked us up in the first place, it’s been a romance ever since. Though a sporadic one, since it doesn’t turn up very often.
As for that simple complexity I mentioned. Look, this is hardly the only stout attempting to employ chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter for the purpose of producing something with a sum that’s more delicious than its parts. I suppose that’s the ultimate goal of all brewing, but with this kind of a combination it’s an especially daunting task since the parts are so robust and tasty on their own. Here’s how they do it in their words: “We’ve given Gunner’s Daughter the nitro treatment, for an incredibly fluffy and soft bodied iteration; we’ve added coffee, vanilla, coconut and more to accentuate different elements of the flavor profile; and we’ve even create imperial and barrel-aged versions of this beloved milk stout in an attempt to push the limits of what the flavor profile can offer.”
Now, in my words: the first thing that Mast Landing did right with this beer is make it less than super sweet. I like candied sours and even Newcastle from time to time, but dark beers in particular start to make me sick when they get too syrupy. Even if it’s love at first swig, the honeymoon tends to end pretty quickly.
Gunner’s Daughter not only avoids the sweetness trap, it also steers clear of the peanut-butter pitfall. Even as a major peanut-butter booster, I don’t want to drink something that goes down like a Reese’s cup (unless it’s Widowmaker’s Candymaker—that stuff will get you through the winter warmly). Mast Landing brought the perfect nuance in every regard, including with the chocolate and peanut butter, and right down to the 5.5% ALC.
A lot of dark beers turn me off, especially those over 7% ALC. But kind of like how a person’s first-ever sip of Guinness can be surprising since it tastes more like heaven than mud, someone sipping Gunner’s Daughter may be pleasantly confused by Mast Landing’s ability to jam in all these heavy flavors in a brew that’s light enough binge on without feeling like you ate a Suzy Q.
Citizen Strain/Grain is an amalgamation of a bunch of us who, in addition to the hard and oftentimes depressing journalism we report for the Dig, also enjoy sampling and writing about the various beers, spirits, and cannabis products that vendors from near and far send our way. If you want us to check out your product, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.