Beer Review: Everyday Balloons (Milko Pour) (Gusto Brewing Company)

Beer Review: Everyday Balloons (Milko Pour) (Gusto Brewing Company)

Everyday Balloons (milko pour) by Gusto Brewing Company

The Infamous Milko Pour

Well, we’re finally doing it….. we’re finally doing a milko pour beer review. (And not just one… but two… as another will be coming soon, from Fourscore Beer Co). Is this us jumping the shark? Chasing a fad? A little bit of all of that? Who knows really. Is this just the latest marketing craze or fad or ‘new idea’ in brewing that everyone is trying out?

Its been popularized by several breweries in the area (to us) (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, etc.). Breweries in PA (the page and group) have really tried pushing it as well.

Got to try this one from Gusto Brewing when we had our trip to Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. This was a great brewery and fun place with a wonderful talkative, upbeat, and cool staff. Outside of the beer I had on the ferry (Cape May IPA) the milko pour was my first of the day, before hitting a few other breweries in New Jersey on our way back to PA. You can read about our trip here: The Trip Home – Delaware, Cape May, and New Jersey. (Make sure to check out our travelogue section for more trip articles.)

So what exactly is the “milko” pour or a milk pour? Well, I covered some of that in a previous article here on the blog – about Human Robot’s 1st Ever Milk Tube Race. You can read that full article here: “Human Robot: The First Milk Tube Race in the World – USA vs. The World – Oktoberfest Invitational World Beer Fest“.

But let’s break it down a bit more for this article as well, and I think a great starting point is provided by Pilsner Urquell. Straight from possibly the best source on the topic:

The Mlíko is a special treat. It’s not the kind of beer you’d order again and again while you’re at the pub with friends. In traditional Czech pubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries it was served as a dessert, or as an elegant drink for women who weren’t big beer drinkers. Sometimes the bartender would give a Mlíko as a nightcap after the bill was paid.

These days, Tapsters at our Tankovna bars often give out a round of Mlíkos at the start or end of a shift. It’s something fun to change the mood, and it’s a different way to enjoy the Saaz hop aroma and the smooth, refreshing sweetness of Pilsner Urquell.

To pour a Mlíko, the Tapster opens the tap just slightly, letting the glass fill to the top with foam. Some of this foam settles, becoming beer – you get a full glass but you only pay for a half.

The History of the Milko Pour – Pilsner Urquell

A fun little discussion forum pop-up on the milko pour, courtesy of the BeerAdvocate’s Forum Pages:

The person’s post reads:

There’s a new trend in American craft beer: the mlíko (or milk) pour.

I’ve seen breweries from Pennsylvania to Utah promoting these on Instagram in recent weeks, but first encountered the phenomenon at Human Robot, which serves a roughly 95%-head pour of one of their Czech-style lagers in a stange and calls it a “Milk Tube.” It’s meant to be chugged.

Whats up with the milko pours?

The comments on the five page post varies from “no ways” and “f* that” to “I love it, its so creamy, so delicious”, etc. One of the first comments posted in reply reads:

I had my first Milk Pour on a small brewery’s (outstanding) Bohemian Pils last week. Tried it because I knew it was a Czech tradition.

Gotta say, the special tap really makes a creamy and delicious head — not at all like a bad AAL pour with too much foam.

FWIW — I had already tried the Pils with a regular pour and knew it was a great take on the style. Not sure the pours change up the flavor of the beer itself (once you get thru the head), but the mouthfeel of the head was nice.

This is definitely a ‘mileage may vary’ type of thing, especially for the craft beer community at large.

Another interesting article on milko pours is by Atlas Obsucura (Gastro Obscura): Czech Milk Beer Milko Pilsner.

Alright Already… Get to the Beer Review

When will they ever get to the fireworks factory?!!!!? (…..if you get that, you get it, if you don’t, you don’t.)

Ok, let’s finally get to this beer review and tackle it. Firstly, though, let me say, this won’t be quite like a normal beer review, primarily because it was a chug. In the sense, that we both CHUGGED it… because thats “what you do” with this style (the milko pour) – or so we’re told. The bartender told us its best to chug, so chug we did. So I won’t quite be able to give the same kind of review as I do of a normal beer pour and beer review. But lets get down to it!

Everyday Balloons (milko pour) by Gusto Brewing Company

Beer: Everyday Balloons
Brewery: Gusto Brewing Company
Style: Pilsner – Czech
Pour Style: Milko Pour
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Crispy, glimmering, and the liquid reward for a lawn well mowed — this is a Czech-style Pilsner brewed with Pilsner malt and hefty additions of Saaz. Upon reaching terminal gravity, it lagered at near freezing temperatures for one month. Notes of unsalted crackers, floral stuff, and earthy noble hop jazz.

As per Untappd, Gusto Brewing Company is a nano brewery in North Cape May, New Jersey. They have 148 unique beers and a total of 15,600 ratings as of 1.7.22. They have a global average rating of 3.91. Their Untappd description reads: We aim to cultivate something truly unique, to give like crazy, and whip up really swell beers. [something small + something weird].

Lets jump into this with the aroma, it smells malty, pilsner like, and beer like. There’s not a whole host of descriptors I can give for the aroma on this beaut, because I think its pour style kind of dilutes it all. The foam certainly changes a lot of aspects of this beer I imagine (really makes me wish I had gotten it regularly afterwards for a style comparison). This smells like a malthouse but muted a bit, or dampened (but obviously not wet dampened, just like a lesser version).

Appearance is… foam. Ever been to a foam rave? Where they just douse you in foam and its everywhere, and it comes up to your knees, then up to your chest, and everyone is partying and jumping around, losing their ever loving minds? ….Just me? …Nobody else? No… well… ok… but anyhoo….. the appearance is similar to that. You can see why it has the nickname ‘milk’ or ‘milko’ pour, because the foam legitimately turns the beer into looking like your drinking a glass of milk. (Though if you notice, you can still see some of the regular pilsner looking liquid at the bottom, which looks like your typical pilsner – clear, golden light yellow, blond, beer looking beer).

Like I said, we both picked up our glasses, and chugged! I was able to completely down mine in the single chug, my friend had to do it in two. (Not bragging…. just stating). It goes down pretty easily, but it goes down like foam too, not like a pure liquid, so it kinda goes down ‘weird’. It tasted like what a good pilsner (a well crafted pilsner by a craft brewery, not like a Miller Lite or Coors or the similar) but doused so heavily in foam, that it tampers it so greatly. I could taste the pilsner while chugging, but the foam just overwhelmed everything. And here is where I will admit to not understanding the craze behind this, other than what certain groups and parties and pages have put out to make people more interested in them. I feel like its more ploy and noise than bang for your buck or interest. Yes, the pour was cheaper than a regular of the pilsner, and it was certainly a different style, and interesting to try something ‘new’ or innovative (even if it its an old technique brought back), but it just… felt more novelty than good, and was not my cup of tea (or beer if you will). I’d love to be able to talk to people back in the Old Countries and see their perspectives; both as customers and as brewers; about this style, and what their thoughts are on it. I believe some people and pages have a vested interest in trying to make it more of a thing than it is, and therefore the popularity explosion (especially in Pennsylvania), and especially when novelty for novelty’s sake is more important than the quality. But then again, I think its a case of mileage may vary and can be different dependent on the person. As seems to be the case with that BeerAdvocate’s discussion forum post on the subject. Personally, I don’t think its my cup of beer. Personally, if I’m gonna drink a Pilsner, I’d rather have it the way I’ve always drank it – like a normal beer. But, I also think Pilsner is on the lower side of the spectrum of beer styles that I enjoy, so there is that as well. I’m much more of a stout, porter, and barleywine kind of guy than the light, lite, airy, summer time mowing the lawn style beers. So take it for what its worth on that alone. I do think this somewhat contributed to me getting a bit sick later in the day; doing a chug of this straight foam side-pull milko pour with nothing else in my stomach after riding a ferry (where, admittedly I did have a small can of Cape May IPA, and I did take a single sip of my friend’s wine at the winery we visited); but I think filling my belly with a chug of pure foam, certainly did it no small favors. But I don’t know nor really worried about it now anymore.

I do think it would be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison with the same beer, one with the side pour milko pour, and one regularly. I imagine I will like the regular better, but don’t know for sure.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Average Untappd Rating: 3.87 (and this is for all pour styles of the Everyday Balloons) (as of 1.7.22)

Your Thoughts?

Whats everyone else’s thoughts on the milko pour? Enjoy it? Hate it? Keep it? Leave it? Let us know in the comments section below. Or let us know on our social media pages!

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-B. Kline

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