“Ok hang on… A Stout Lager?” you might be asking yourself… No, that’s not a misprint folks… the brewers at Millstream have in fact created what you might call a new style of beer… For those readers who are less familiar with the intricacies of Ales and Lagers, here’s a quick review: generally speaking, all beers can be broken down into two categories, ales and lagers. Both of course are made with our beery friend—yeast. The distinction is that ales are fermented at warmer temperatures using yeast that rise to the top while carrying out their miraculous sugar-to-alcohol conversion while lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast which work their magic at lower temperatures. Generally, ales have fruitier, floral elements in their flavor profiles, while lagers tend to be distinctly clean and crisp tasting. Stouts are classically top-fermented ales and have been for centuries. However, the folks at Millstream Brewing Company wanted to combine the smooth, clean, easy-drinking nature of a lager beer with the rich flavor characteristics of a full-bodied stout, thus, we have their Colony Oatmeal Stout Lager. Expect a grainy aroma with cocoa powder and coffee notes. There’s a sharpness on the nose reminiscent of burnt chocolate or chicory, which is offset by the obvious oatmeal scents. Flavor quite closely parallels the nose, with the clean finish one expects from the lagering process. A well-balanced stout which, due to its lager characteristics, will pair with pasta dishes (not normally recommended for stouts). Or, for a more classical partner, try veal parmesan.
The Millstream Brewing Company, located in Amana, IA, first opened its doors in 1985, and was the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884! You could say the area was long overdue for a new brewery! The Millstream Brewing Company came into being as a result of the strong desire of brothers James and Dennis Roemig, along with Carroll F. Zuber, to create a local brewery producing hand crafted brews reminiscent of the finest beers in Europe.
To help produce these European-style beers, they hired one of the country’s more widely recognized masterbrewers, Joseph Pickett Sr., to develop their recipes. Joe formulated the Millstream Lager, Schild Brau Amber, and Millstream Wheat brands. These three top-notch beers comprised the brewery’s primary line up until the year 2000, when it was sold to Chris Priebe, Aaron Taubman, and Teresa Sly Albert. As you might expect, along with the new owners came new brews, as the threesome added a German Style Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout, and several other fantastic seasonals including a Maifest (a maibock beer), a Bavarian-style Hefeweissen, and an Oktoberfest. They’ve even added root beer and cream soda to their bag of tricks, but you’ll have to buy those on your own as you won’t be finding anything other than hand crafted, microbrewed nectar ‘of the beer sort’ in this here club!
Millstream recently claimed a silver medal at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival Competition, the largest national beer contest recognizing the most outstanding beers produced in the United States today. The Millstream Brewing Company was recognized in the Vienna Lager beer-style category for its Schild Brau Amber, a red Vienna lager rich in caramel and malt flavors. Proud, but deservedly boastful upon hearing the results, Aaron Taubman, one of Millstream’s brewers, is quoted as saying “our beer keeps getting better every year, and this is proof of that. This is the second year in row that we have won a medal in this category, and second place out of 25 similar beers is no small feat.” We’ll drink to that Aaron! Got any extra Schild Brau Amber you can send our way?
So, anyone out there been to Amana, IA? Didn’t think so… but hey, now you have a reason to drop in during that cross country drive you’ve been meaning to take, right? The truth is, the Millstream Brewing Company is one of the nicest, most attractive, rustic breweries in the country. Seriously, check out their website (listed below) and have a look at their online brewery tour—you’re sure to be inspired to take a trip to Amana! We recommend you sit in their hop garden and have a brew amidst the aromatic scents of freshly grown hops. Hmmm… sounds like heaven to us! Who knew it was in Iowa!?
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (319) 622-3672 or check out their web site at www.millstreambrewing.com.
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