Civil Life Brewing is a cool little pub in the south city of St. Louis, MO. They can only accommodate a small number of patrons on the inside but do have a fairly decent-sized outside area for the warmer months. Inside, it’s like an English-style pub, from the old-style wood of the bar to the antiquated tap handles. The tap list is hand-written in chalk on a blackboard. The atmosphere is immediately very cozy and intimate.
A milk stout gets its name due to the addition of lactose. Brewing yeast cannot break down the lactose, or milk sugar, so it accentuates the beer’s body and sweetness. Lactose gives the beer a creamy mouthfeel while using roasted malts that add coffee and chocolate flavors
Civil Life’s Milk Stout is a typical milk stout, statistically speaking. It’s not heavy (4.4% ABV) and low bitterness (27 IBUs). They nailed the basics, that’s for sure. However, I felt like this beer was underwhelming. Tastes more like an English brown ale than a milk stout. It’s more of a medium- to thin-bodied beer with very little creaminess. There’s little to no sweetness for a milk/sweet stout. The taste is more like bad coffee. I understand Civil Life’s niche is in that English-style ale, and they seem to nail that pretty well, but there’s nothing really special about this beer. They do use English yeast in this, which contributes to that style they’re going for. However, this one just wasn’t for me. I really wanted to like Civil Life’s Milk Stout, but to me, it comes off as average. If you’re a fan of English style dark beers, like an old style stout porter, then this beer is probably for you.