A buddy of mine recently went on a date and was fired up about it. These days, what does a guy do when a date is going well? He texts his closest buddies about great beers, that's what! So I get a mid-date text from him demanding that I try and also review Speakeasy's milk stout. Well, okay! I had never heard of Speakeasy but am now among the educated few. They hail from San Francisco and offer a full lineup of ales and lagers. I finally got to try their arousing milk stout, which is fomally known as the Black Hand. My review appears after the jump, along with a really bad photo.
The Black Hand is indeed black. It has an incredibly dense, chewy look to it. The beer arrived in a standard pint glass and bore a thick white head - make that a wall of foam - on top. It smells of roasted malts and sweet cream.
It has a dense, gritty mouthfeel and is as chewy as it looks. The mouthfeel is almost coffee-like. In fact, it feels like a really sludgy porter instead of a stout. It pastes your glass with lacing that reminds you of the snow that's plastered on your window during a blizzard. And what an unusual flavor! It's a combination of coffee, licorice, sweet cream, nuttiness, and sweet cacao nibs, all lumped together in the sludge. Somehow the flavor balance is struck between harshness and creaminess, but the combined effect is pleasantly bittersweet. Black Hand's unusual and gripping flavor profile prohibits chugging it, yet it's way too good to put down for more than a moment. It commands your full attention.
I would compare it to a thicker, grittier version of Left Hand Milk Stout, which can be a sugar rush that I don't always desire. However, with Speakeasy's Black Hand, you can take your time and just enjoy miring in its deliciously gritty muck.
3.8 of 5 stars.