As reported in last week's beer issue, Sunriver Brewing has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past year. Bottles of Vicious Mosquito IPA and Shred Head Winter Ale can be found more-or-less statewide now, and taps are making appearances in Bend's bars with far more regularity than before. And, really, it couldn't have happened to a more talented bunch of brewers—the floral hoppiness of Vicious in particular will undoubtedly make it another local pub favorite once word gets around.
Sunriver's next bottle release is the Cocoa Cow milk stout, a genre you don't see much at all around Central Oregon. "Milk stout" doesn't mean they're actually pouring milk into the brew kettle—instead, the brewer adds lactose, or milk sugar, to the mix. Lactose isn't consumed by the yeast in the beer during fermentation, resulting in a final product with more body and extra sweetness. (The genre was created a century ago in England but is most popular in the US now, spearheaded by the bottled Milk Stout Nitro from Colorado's Left Hand Brewing.)
In Cocoa Cow, this sweetness is further enhanced by the addition of roasted cocoa nibs from Ghana, giving the 6% ABV stout a thick, full sweetness without becoming overly cloying. It's worth a try for any dark beer fan—and if you're in town for the Sunriver Mudslinger race this Sunday, the brewery will have another milk stout there, this one called Mudder's Milk and flavored with flaked oats and Amarillo hops.