A proliferation of chocolate-flavored beers provides a twist for Easter quaffing
By Alan J. Wax
What will the Easter Bunny bring you? Some chocolate eggs? Better still, some chocolate beer?
Easter is the perfect excuse to indulge in as much chocolate as possible with no regrets. For all the adults looking to treat themselves this Easter weekend it’s the perfect time consider a beer made with chocolate.
There are plenty of choices as brewers increasingly have been wedding chocolate in its various forms with the maltiness of their brews. The result can be tasty.
Typically, chocolate beers are produced using dark chocolate or cocoa in various forms during different parts of the brewing process, depending on how much chocolate influence the brewer wants to impart.
Often, these beers are stouts. The malt flavors in stouts and porters often mimic flavors of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans anyway, so if a brewer wants to take it the next level, they can add actual chocolate for aroma and (or) flavor. Chocolate beers can range in taste from a chocolate milkshake to burnt cocoa — depending on the brewer’s preference.
Chocolate beers can be the perfect pairing to dessert or even as a substitution for it. Try a sweet chocolate beer (like Boulder Shake) with drier desserts, say a black chocolate cake that’s more on the bitter side, or a creamy vanilla ice cream, so that the beer serves as a chocolate sauce on top.
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, which I first sampled in 2003, was among the first of this ilk. Nearly an opaque, ruby- black brew, I recall it as smooth with a lingering chocolate aftertaste.
A much sought after beer: The cocoa-infused Sexual Chocolate by Foothills Brewing Co., a brew pub in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a Russian Imperial Stout that weighs in at over 9 percent ABV. It attracts hundreds of devotees to the brewery every year to get their hands on this special release. Unfortunately, I’ve not sampled it.
Barrage Brewing Co., in Farmingdale, Long Island, produces a couple of chocolaty brews. One is Yada Yada Yada, a brown ale that’s sort of Snickers bar in liquid form. Peanuts dominate the palate, which includes notes of caramel and chocolate. Barrage’s Assault ‘N Fudgery is Bosco (a chocolate syrup popular in the New York area for decades) gone boozy. It’s sweet and chocolaty and best slowly sipped.
To be sure, there are many others.
Evil Twin Even More Denmark is a terrific ebony hued brew with a nose of orange peel marinated in alcohol. Orange and alcohol flavors mingle on the palate. It’s velvety with a bitter chocolate finish. It was sold only at Whole Foods Market.
Dogfish Head Theobroma, a chili beer with chocolate among its flavorings also is a winner and has been around since about 2008. It’s a cloudy, deep gold with a fruity nose and light chili pepper notes on the palate. The chocolate is subtle and the finish is sweet.
Dogfish Head Higher Math is definitely a beer for dessert. Murky brown, it exudes cherries and cocoa on the nose. It’s thick and mouth-coating, sort of like a high octane chocolate-covered cherry.
Boulevard Chocolate Ale is a richly flavored American-style strong ale that debuted in 2011 and is produced as a collaboration with Kansas City chocolatier Christopher Elbow as part of the brewery’s Smokestack Series. Deep gold in color, there is a complex meld of chocolate, caramel and vanilla notes.
Moody Tongue Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter, from the chef-led Chicago brewery, is brown in color, spritz and has notes of cinnamon but only a hint of chocolate.
New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Salted Caramel Brownie Ale with its chocolaty nose, is a light style, easy drinking brew that seems more like a cream soda with a strong vanilla finish. It’s a collaboration with ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s.
New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith Chocolate Stout exhibits big alcohol notes and a burnt caramel flavor. It finishes on the sweet side.
Boulder Beer Co. Shake Chocolate Porter is definitely easy drinking, like a creamy, chocolate milk shake.
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, an import from England, hits you with its big chocolate nose, but the impression on the palate is light and silky smooth.
Off Color Brewing’s Dino S’mores is an opaque, black-hued, high-alcohol brew with notes of roasted coffee and chocolate on the nose. The palate suggests creamy marshmallow but that flavor fade fast. It’s a thick, chewy brew.
Evil Twin Christmas Eve in A New York City Hotel Room is a potent, opaque black imperial stout with a nose and palate that suggests crème cacao chocolate liqueur. It’s rich and smooth with a light alcoholic bite (10% ABV).
Funky Buddha Nib Smuggler Chocolate Porter, a winter brew from the Fort Lauderdale brewery, is a deep brown milk porter with a nose of chocolate syrup and notes of roasted grain. There’s chocolate and vanilla in each sip. The finish is dry malty finish.
There are many more out there, I‘m sure. If you find them give ’em a try. They’re unique and fun to drink.