Remember Nicholas Day’s beer float piece from a while back? (Yes, I also need help.) Yesterday I tried a beer that I believe would make a fine beer-float candidate, provided you stick to vanilla ice cream like a not-insane person. I stopped by the Local Option at 1102 W. Webster and, finding their Surly tap dry (the bartender was in the process of switching the keg from Cynic to Furious), opted for Southern Tier‘s creme brulee imperial milk stout. Yikes!

Now, I didn’t actually drink this as a beer float, but it’s dark, heavy, quite sweet for a stout, and not too thick–I think it’d be perfect. It smells powerfully of creme brulee, and on the first sip you get caramel, a touch of coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla, followed by a nice warm brandylike note from that 10 percent alcohol content. (It’s allegedly brewed with vanilla beans and milk sugar.)

The only trouble I can see is that it’s so good on its own that you wouldn’t want to mix it with anything. Fortunately Southern Tier sells it in 22-ounce bombers, so you could easily save half the bottle for drinking straight. (Just let somebody else operate the heavy machinery.)

I’ve seen Southern Tier’s beers at every Binny’s I’ve been in, at Lakeview Liquors at Addison and Leavitt, and at two places in Andersonville–In Fine Spirits and whatever that store at the northeast corner of Foster and Clark is called. And of course they’ve got this stout at the Local Option, at least while the keg lasts. Happy hunting!

PS: Magic Hat‘s peach pale ale, #9, is also on tap at the Local Option–allegedly the only beer of theirs it’s possible to get in kegs this far west. If the post-Cubs-game crowd hadn’t arrived to loud the place up, I probably would’ve stayed till I couldn’t bike home . . . 

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. You can also follow him on Twitter.