May 11, 2021

Two milkshakes from BeerBazaar: Shvil HeChalav IPA & Chocolate Stout

"Milkshake beers" also come in 
different flavors.

The BeerBazaar Brewery in Kiryat Gat, with a chain of five pubs, has released two "Milkshake" beers: an IPA and a Stout.  They are called Milkshakes because they are brewed with lactose, a milk sugar.

Now even though yeast are voracious eaters of sugar, lactose is one of the few sugars that they spurn.  So when you add it to the brewing process, you're going to get a beer with a sweeter character and/or a smoother or fuller body.  Let's see what happens with the BeerBazaar Milkshakes.

The first is the Shvil HeChalav ("Milky Way") Milkshake IPA, 5.5% alcohol by volume.  In addition to lactose, it is brewed with vanilla beans.  

It's a slightly hazy, golden amber color, actively carbonated but with a thin head.  The aromas are citrus (with orange in the lead) and pineapple.  My drinking partner Daniël Boestra also called out some new-mown grass.  We tasted more pineapple and vanilla -- in a mid-bitter, slightly sour envelope.

Shvil HeChalav Milkshake IPA 
from the BeerBazaar Brewery:
Brewed with lactose and vanilla beans.

We really couldn't find any lactose sweetness in the taste.  Maybe the bitterness of this IPA was diminished by some added sweetness from the lactose.  It's hard to tell without a side-by-side control beer brewed without lactose.  What we did sense, however, was that the mouthfeel was noticeably creamy.

Daniël noted that BeerBazaar has successfully introduced a number of specialty beers to the public, including these milkshakes.  "But to achieve as wide an appeal as possible, they had to moderate some of the more extreme tastes.  I think it was a good trade-off."

Lactose is most commonly used in stouts, including BeerBazaar's Chocolate Milkshake Stout.   These can be called "milk stouts" or "cream stouts" or "sweet stouts", or whatever -- and many of them do include lactose.  Chocolate Milkshake Stout is also brewed with cocoa. 

Chocolate Milkshake Stout
from the BeerBazaar Brewery:
Brewed with lactose and cocoa.

The beer is very dark and opaque, with brown and red edges when held up to the light.

There's a strong primary aroma of what I would call hot milk chocolate, those hot cups of cocoa that we enjoy on a winter's day.  There's also caramel and malt roastiness without smoke.  Daniël added that as a licorice-loving Dutchman, he also smelled some of that.

The licorice wasn't there when we tasted it, but it was sweet and there were the requisite coffee and chocolate flavors you expect in a stout.

Here again, the mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, which we attributed to the lactose.  The body was a little thin, which really didn't disturb us much, and ABV is 4.6%.

So to sum up the BeerBazaar Milkshakes, the flavors for the styles are good, not at all extreme.  What we have here are a well-made IPA and Stout -- and if the lactose adds anything, it's a creamier, smacking-your-lips mouthfeel.

A final note: These two beers are labeled "Dairy" by the brewer.  This is important, for example, for people who are lactose intolerant or who keep the kosher laws, which forbid eating milk products and meat together.  However, I want to point out that while most rabbinical authorities agree that lactose is dairy, there are some who believe that it is not, because the production process removes it very far from its source.  One of these, according to my local rabbi, was Chaim Ozer Grodzinski (1863-1940), the last chief rabbi of Vilna before the Nazi invasion.