This March you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste for holiday spirit. With the plethora of dyes and light beers on special this St. Patty’s, you’ll be likely to turn green at the prospect of finding a suitably Irish drink to celebrate. Rather than make yourself ill with an emerald ale, bolster your body with thick and Irish-descended stout. And what better stout to give you the kind of energy to get through a night of leprechaun-themed shooters than the nourishing milk stout? The history of the stout goes hand in hand with that of the porter, having been developed from the mixing of beers in 18th-century London. But the stout did not become truly popular as its own beer until a little company first established itself in 1759 Dublin, Ireland. Started at the St. James Gate Brewery by Arthur Guinness, Guinness remade the stout into one of the most sought-after beers in the world. Even Guinness had originally called its beer a porter, only using the term “stout” to suggest the strength of each particular brew it made. The single, double and foreign stout each increased in the flavor and strength of the one prior. This nomenclature eventually overshadowed the original title of porter and has stuck around to this day. While Guinness certainly holds the title to the most popular stout in existence, it is not the originators of this month’s brew of choice, the milk stout. Like so many other beers, this beverage’s origins are due east of the Emerald Isle, in the lovely United Kingdom. Milk stout began with the practice of selling stout with a shot of actual milk to ailing workers as a source of midday rejuvenation. This slowly began to get picked up by brewers, who would proclaim the restorative effects of drinking milk stout in ads and product labeling. Comparing the brew’s healthful effects to those of an actual glass of milk, it would be commonplace to see dairy cans and cows printed on labels. Eventually, through experimentation, brewers found they could make these drinks much more easily just by using the unfermentable milk sugar, lactose, and milk as an ingredient was ultimately dropped. Despite this, the name and the marketing associated with milk stouts stuck. The advertising and labeling would eventually cause trouble for the milk stout in the 1940s. In the midst of World War II, Britain was under strict food rationing. During the height of the Allied offensive on Germany, milk stouts came under direct fire. British courts called into question the implications of using dairy-related imagery in a product that no longer had any dairy in it. The courts ruled against the misleading advertising practices and forced brewers to make a change. The milk stout was renamed “sweet stout,” and all associations with dairy were removed by the majority of brewers. One notable case involved the brewery of James Calder & Co., which the courts convicted and fined for the advertising of their milk stout. This, coupled with other bad business decisions, led to this brewery being lost to history — but not before making an impact in another way. Originally brewing both beer and whiskey, James Calder & Co. sold its whiskey interests to a man by the name of James Dewar and his sons. We here at the Brewstorian respect a stiff snifter of scotch and salute Calder for its aid in birthing a brilliant bottle before its untimely demise. But we’re not here to drink whiskey; we’re here for beer! And no beer better exemplifies a brilliant milk stout than Southern Tier’s Double Milk Stout. With a strong aroma of dark cocoa and an opaque body to match, this beer screams stout. Despite having little carbonation and lacing and a fairly thin head, the Double Milk Stout has a substantial, yet drinkable, body. This is a beer that will go down smooth and fill you up quickly. Strong malt notes and subtle smoky flavors dance down your throat with a chocolaty sweetness imparted from the lactose added during the beer’s boiling process. So stay healthy this St. Patrick’s Day with a large dose of history and, of course, plenty of beer. Just not the green stuff.