Nestled in the vast suburbs of Dallas, Garland’s Lakewood Brewing Company could be easy to miss. Yet the brewery has long been on the map for beer lovers both local and not, as Lakewood’s Temptress Imperial Milk Stout gets advertised again and again as the best-selling craft stout within Texas. Within what the brewery calls the Seduction Series, Temptress is now available with peanut butter, mint and graham cracker, coconut, or even mole flavors, depending on the season. By far the most traditionally appealing to stout drinkers has to be French Quarter Temptress, which puts a heavy emphasis on coffee.
Appearance and Aroma
French Quarter Temptress pours a deep black, with a bit of foam gathering at the top and giving you the same satisfying sensation as a well-made espresso. Everything indicates a treat for caffeine-heads awaits—this is advertised as an imperial milk stout with bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans and chicory—yet breathing in the beer immediately changes expectations. Having lived in New Orleans for five years, I don’t know what chocolate has to do with the French Quarter, but it has a lot to do with French Quarter Temptress. Imagine your favorite high-end chocolate bar and you’ll have a sense of what it’s like to bring a pint glass of this beer toward your nose.
This stout is ultimately delightful and sweet, but not so sweet it’d become dessert or preclude anyone from a second pint.”
It’s easy to assume Temptress’ primary bit of New Orleans DNA is that chicory—a root that tastes a bit nutty and traditionally gets mixed with coffee around Louisiana. But I’d argue this stout is more of a nod to the city’s unique, complex flavors. I audibly ooo'd upon the first sip of French Quarter Temptress. From the first time it touches your tongue to those brief satisfying moments post-sip, chocolate takes center stage. The beer’s tasting notes mention coffee and roasted marshmallow, but it’s clear which component is Gladys Knight and which is The Pips. Despite the beer being heavy in both style and ABV (9.1%), French Quarter Temptress finds its balance. This stout is ultimately delightful and sweet, but not so sweet it’d become dessert or preclude anyone from a second pint. Maybe that chicory coffee plays a role after all as a counterpoint to stronger flavors.
Don’t let the label fool you. Touting coffee and named for New Orleans, Temptress is nonetheless an exceptional chocolate stout. Maybe it’s a bit of adopted Texas state pride, but I’d happily put this against some of the best-known milk stouts from Left Hand Brewing or Terrapin Beer Co. And even if it doesn’t quite capture its namesake city, I bet New Orleanians who prefer darker beers would happily celebrate “go cup” entering the dictionary with a pint of this, too.