Monday, January 31, 2011

Beers that taste like chocolate

Welcome to Beer on my shirt… 2011! It has been a busy January so far with buying a house, my first, and the subsequent packing of possessions, moving possessions, and unpacking possessions. Also, with the completion of my epic beer quest, I am left unfocused and without direction in regards to my beer drinking (new readers can click here for that back story and then here for my mo-fackin’ mission statement). If there has been one commonality worth writing about in the past month it would be the beer or two I have had that taste like chocolate - which in the winter months is like a two birds-one stone sort of thing - cramming your cold weather cravings for swiss miss and dark beer into one tasty beverage.

But first, a few things I’ve learned from the big move:

1. People that work with computers all day should not be given keys to big trucks - except of course for comedic relief.

2. Wife is one major life event away from being on the TV show “Hoarders”.  I need to venture into our storage areas on a regular basis from this point forward.

3. Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale is disappointing. I tried to get a case of Bell’s Pale Ale (which is the pale ale equivalent of having telepathic abilities, the kind you are in control of, not that out-of-control-telepathy-is-torture-bullshit that makes you all frantic and bug-eyed and just go dye your hair black already because that’s how having super powers makes you feel inside) but the distributor was out so I got the Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale thinking it would be comparable. It wasn’t. Not bad, but I won’t be buying this again. However it should be stated that this is the first disappointing Dogfish Head beer I’ve come across.

Now for some beers that taste like chocolate:

Southern Tier Choklat Stout (11% ABV): This is part of their Blackwater Series of Imperial Stouts. I have previously tried the Oat and wrote briefly about it here. The description on the bottle of the Choklat Stout references some mysterious Mayan beverage for the gods which stroked my ego a bit and reminded me of a scene from Ghostbusters - “ Ray, when someone asks if you’re a god, you say yes!”.

Following that sound advice, I popped open the bottle and immediately smelled the chocolate. This beer lived up to it’s name 100%. If you want a chocolate beer, this is the one. Some beers, stouts mainly, have hints of chocolate mixed with some hints of other stuff. This was up front, no hints, just a delicious chocolate beer. In terms of taste, I have absolutely no complaints. You would think in an 11% beer you would taste the alcohol - but here all you taste is delicious chocolate. Some people might be thinking in a nasal voice “well, does beer and chocolate really go good together? I don’t know if I’d like a chocolate beer.” Trust me, it is amazing. One problem though is that this is not that easy to find - I found it at Abe’s in Bethlehem - so if you see it, buy it. Also, it only comes in 22 oz bottles (aka bombers) - which sometimes annoys me. Not sure why this bothers me, but it does.

Another beer I’ve been drinking lately is Bell’s Best Brown Ale (5.8% ABV). This came in the variety case that I got for Christmas from my brother Joe. The bottle has an owl on the label and the owl looks pissed. The first two times I drank this I poured it into a pint glass and I did not really care for it. This was my first venture into brown ales so maybe it was just something I wasn’t into. But I tried another - cause what the heck, I got six of ‘em and they ain’t drinking themselves - and this time I just drank it straight from the bottle, like a rebel. I guess that was the trick to this beer because it was quite tasty coming at me down that narrow chute of a bottle neck. I even tasted I slight hint of chocolate, very slight, but it was there. If it’s not there for you, then eat a fun-size Twix bar and take another sip - because whether this beer has a secret hint of chocolate in it or not - it goes great with fun-size Twix bars and probably regular size Twix as well, although I haven’t done anything that crazy yet (incidentally, this is the first beer-food pairing I‘ve ever recommended).

Speaking of food pairings, I've been hearing/reading a lot about mixing stouts with ice-cream to create a beer float.  This idea does not sound all that appealing to me but I'd try it if one was in front of me.  Apparently, my friend Ponytail Phil also has read/heard a few things about such floats and picked up some Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout to mix with some coffee ice cream.  His review of the experience, in Pony's own words, straight from my Gmail inbox, is as follows:

"Read an article online about how some trendy bars/restaurants in NY are making all kinds of drinks/desserts with beer including floats. Saw the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and thought it would go well with some coffee ice cream. I got all the ingredients and was real excited about making it. I made mine first and let my wife have the first taste. She almost spit it out at me. She hated it. My wife isn't the biggest beer fan so I thought maybe it was just her. Women! Nope. It was bad. I was totally bummed out as a beer float sounds like a delicious treat.

So I had three beers left and was dreading what to do with it. Could I dump it out? I know. Dumping beer is a sin in my book too but that's how bad I thought of it. So it just sat in my fridge for weeks. When you asked for thoughts on it, I figured I might as well try it by itself to give an honest non-float opinion on it. And guess what? I like it! This beer definitely tastes like chocolate and has that thick stout texture. I wouldn't drink many but at 10% alcohol by volume you don't need to."

A big thanks to Pony P. for providing Beer on my shirt... with its first guest review.  You are a monster.

P.S. - It should be noted that on's 2011 list of the 100 best brewers in the world, Bell's Brewery is listed 6th, Southern Tier comes in at number 16, and Brooklyn is 67.


  1. I've wondered about these chocolate beers. Is it something that's legitimately good, or is it sort of like chili beer...something you try once, duly note, then return to your old favorites?

  2. They are legitimate. The Southern Tier was mind blowingly chocolate.

  3. The Meantime chocolate stout has been a favourite of mine, but it can be a little sickly. Generally one is enough. I've yet to find a chocolate (or novelty) beer I could drink all night. The worst 'flavoured' beer I had was basil flavoured. That was a struggle, and I couldn't get rid of the taste for the rest of the night.

  4. I don't know if I could do the Choklat all night but I finished the bomber and wanted more so who knows. The Rogue Double Mocha Porter, I wrote about that in a previous post, was one I could definitely put in a shift with. That was mighty tasty and very drinkable. Rogue also has a double chocolate stout but I haven't had that yet. I'll stay away from the Basil Beer.

  5. I know this is unhipster like, but i enjoyed the mainstream sam adams chocolate stout....i also like beers that taste like nut...i mean like nuts...

    having said that, im not crazy about chocolate in beer unless im dipping a reese's peanut butter cup into a boddington's...but boddington's is an ale...where am i going with this.

    dainty bones.