The cows have come home in Fort Collins. In January, Odell Brewing Company will release its newest seasonal, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout, a beer dedicated to Lugene Sas, a local organic dairy farmer, and to the cows he addresses by name.
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The beer, which Odell has been working on for a while, will be sold in four-packs and fills a gap between Mountain Standard, a double IPA that Odell produces in the fall, and Double Pilsner, which is sold in April. "We have been toying with a chocolate milk stout and have been doing a bunch of different pilot batches," says Odell spokeswoman Amanda Johnson. "We all liked the creamy, rich fourth version," which she describes as having a chocolate-milk-like texture and mouthfeel.
Sas has been buying Odell's spent grain for more than fifteen years and feeding it to his forty or so cows, Guernsey, Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds, whom he calls his "girls"; he owns Taft Hill, a raw milk dairy that can only sell to people who buy shares of a particular cow and its milk.
Over the years, several Odell employees have become customers of Taft Hill, and Johnson says the partnership was a long time in the making. "We recently had a tap-room worker follow him all day, from when he picked up the grain to when he fed it to the cows," she explains.
Customers may know Sas because of his truck, a rusty, beat-up blue Chevy that can often be seen outside the brewery.
It also graces the label of the beer, which Odell describes like this: "Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is a full-bodied stout brewed with lactose (milk sugar) and milk chocolate. Roasted malts and chocolate mingle with just a hint of vanilla. The rich flavor and creamy mouthfeel create a beer that is reminiscent of a glass of chocolate milk.
The brewery plans to kick off the new beer release at the 2013 Vail Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, January 10-12. After that, it will be available in Odell's ten-state distribution network.
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