Drinking Beer While Doing Stuff: Chai Milk Stout Nitro

Hello! Welcome to my series, “Drinking Beer While Doing Stuff!” The premise is pretty simple. I don’t like to “review” beer because everyone’s opinions are different and what I like isn’t always going to match up with what other people like. So instead of doing normal reviews, I’m going to give you my opinions on what I think are some great craft brews while doing other things.

Today’s entry: Drinking Left Hand Brewing’s Chai Milk Stout Nitro while Putting Together an IKEA Desk.

Left Hand Brewing out of Longmont, Colorado started back in 1990. One of their flagship brews is Milk Stout Nitro, which I can personally attest is just as dark and delicious as they claim it is. Among other things, they’re well known for putting their Milk Stout Nitro in a bottle, making them both the first American and the first craft brewery to bottle a nitrogenated beer without a widget. Building on that, Chai Milk Stout Nitro takes everything that was great about the original and adds chai spice.

That’s the beer, now on to the other stuff…I’ve needed to rearrange my office for weeks. I bought a bunch of stuff from IKEA about six months ago, but never had the time, or patience, or mental fortitude to put it together. Now, my old desk is shot, and I have to assemble this Linnmon with Aldis legs and possibly a Kallax dresser attachment. No, I didn’t make those names up.

The can says to turn it upside down and give it a rough pour, so we do that. Drinking it out of the can would probably be okay, but I want it to be as close to how the brewer intended it as possible. So I’m going to let it settle for a moment before I dive in. That will give me time to figure out what’s going on with this tabletop and leg attachments. And the first thing I see is…one of the worst “included tools” to ever be sent to someone’s home since the invention of the phrase “some assembly required.” I can only guess that these are two random pieces from a Swiss army knife that broke off and were forged together by a blacksmith with no moral compass. What in the world am I supposed to do with this ridiculous tool? Seriously, who can use this? The screwdriver part doesn’t allow me to get any torque. I’m not going to be able to put any of these bolts in. Alright, now I need to go find my actual screwdriver, because this tool is all kinds of worthless.

Alright, I’m back with an actual Philips-head screwdriver. The beer has settled and I’m about to give it a taste before I look at these desk directions. As I bring it to my face, the chai flavor hits me. In a good way. It smells delicious, like actual chai tea. The aroma is perfect. The first sip is incredibly smooth and balanced. The dark flavors and the chai spice are mixed perfectly. Looking back at the table top, I notice that there are literally NO GUIDE HOLES in it. It looks like they marked the places where the screws should go with a pen. Do they really expect me to muscle these screws into the table? This isn’t composite wood or balsa. This is solid wood. In what world does IKEA think I can do this with a tool that looks like a bottle opener with a drill bit attached to it?

I throw the tool away, if for no other reason than it makes me sad to look at. I take a deep breath. I drink a few more gulps of the Milk Stout and I can’t overstate how smooth it is. If you’ve never had their Milk Stout Nitro, the best way I can describe it is that it tastes like brown sugar and coffee flavored whipped cream. Smooth, creamy, flavorful, but not too sweet. You take that and add chai spice to it and you get something that is bright, relaxing and delicious. I’m really enjoying this beer.

I’m literally putting all of my weight into screwing these screws in and they are not moving. This is why I need to own a power drill. Even an electric screw driver can’t handle this. My wife is now laying on this hellspawn of a desk and I’m hoping her tiny body can stop this tabletop from moving on the ground as I wench these malformed screws into this Swedish wood. I don’t know if there’s a dirty joke there, but if you can find one, good for you.

I’m coming to the end of this beer, which is sad for me, because this desk isn’t close to being done. I’ve got two legs in, but the frustration got the better of me. Instead of sweating this out, I’m going to sit here and enjoy the rest of this delicious beer. Yes, the Linnmon is silently judging me, but I really don’t care. This brew is perfectly balanced, finishes clean and leaves me wanting more. I don’t have a rating system, but if I did, this beer would have all the stars, points, thumbs ups or whatever. I think this beer is something that most stout or porter lovers can get behind. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a good black and tan, I think you’ll like this. Those who enjoy lighter fares or sours may not dig the aromatic spice, but I’d suggest still giving it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. This is a beer I’d give to my wife’s friends who drink wine by the bottle but refuse to try beer. It’s inviting and relaxing, but still manages to be complex. Get it while you can.

EPILOUGE: I finished making the desk. I’d love to tell you that once we got the legs on, it was smooth sailing, but that would be a lie. The desktop was warped and scratched beyond recognition, so I did manage to get it together, but it involved a trip to Home Depot, a second trip to IKEA and some light crying. But still, every time I think of that Chai Milk Stout Nitro, I get a warm and friendly feeling…along with a sharp twinge in my left wrist from screwing in those bolts. Warm feeling…sharp twinge. Let that be your takeaway from reading this.

Alex Watts

Alex is a lifelong sports fan and writer that has (against the better judgement of several producers and program directors) appeared on ESPN Radio and CBS Sports Radio. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, 1 child, 1 cat and an unhealthy amount of video game consoles.

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