An ode to Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout

Growing up only 30 minutes away from Hershey, Penn., my olfactory system and taste buds were bombarded with the wonderful world of chocolate. I know the creation process inside and out because I took as many tours as possible to get free king size chocolate bars.

Odell's Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout.
Odell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout. Photo by Natasha Leadem.

As a child, I guzzled gallons of freshly mixed chocolate milk at every meal. When I became old enough to prepare the concoction myself, I would see how far I could tilt the ratio of syrup to milk without anyone noticing. It didn’t take long for my affinity to expand to bittersweet chocolates. Eventually, I began to find the confections with the highest cacao percentage.

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Hershey’s, Nestle, Cadbury, Kinder, Ghirardelli, Godiva, Lindt; you name it, I’ve had it. Needless to say, I identify as a chocoholic.

Since being introduced to the beer industry I found that, like milk, I prefer the darker variants to the lighter ones. The bold and complex flavors are infinitely more appealing. However, while I’ve drank many perfectly fine ales, I’ve always felt something was missing. It seemed like nothing could surpass a basic mocha flavor.

That was until last spring when I met Lugene. Odell Brewing Company’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout, brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate, was the Holy Grail I’ve been searching for. The mere thought of the brew makes my legs weak and my mouth water.

Immediately after taking the first sip, I felt the viscous fluid seep through my veins like a drug. Lugene had its hold on me and was never letting go. The dark, almost pitch-black, body was thick and silky. The aroma transported me into a chocolate factory with roasting beans. The stout was sweet but not too sweet, as if the brewers found the perfect flavor balance between milk and dark chocolate. I also tasted hints of vanilla, caramel and cream. With a malty dry finish, the beer cuts off the luscious chocolate supply knowing that you’ll be back for more.

Lugene carried me back to the chocolaty bliss of my childhood. Since then, I’ve yet to find any other stout or porter that can hold a cocoa bean to Odell’s finest.

The only negative aspect of the beer is that, being a seasonal one, I can only drink this godly nectar roughly four months out of the year. In May, one month later than it’s supposed to be available, I managed to snag a neglected four pack and allotted myself only one beer a month to prolong the goodbye. It took all of my willpower to not down every bottle in a single evening. With Lugene making its return last weekend, I’m going to have to start hoarding it like nuclear fallout is near.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but that is a lie. I hate to say farewell to Lugene in April and endure nine months of torture because I can’t possibly be any more fond of this magical elixir.

Collegian Entertainment Writer Jefferson Geiger can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.