December 2008

Gadd's Sixpack

By: David Gadd

I swore off Cocoa Puffs a couple of years ago, but chocolatey beers are another story

Sam Adams Chocolate Bock
A malty bock aged on Bolivian cocoa nibs. The dual characteristics of deep chocolate tones and fine, tingly hops flavors give this one an adult complexity, but it still reminds me of a brand of chocolate soda I was hooked on in 7th grade. Like many of Boston Beer's brews, newfangled and retro at the same time.

Rogue Chocolate Stout
Dry, rich cocoa tones from the first moment you stuff your snout into the glass. Hot chocolate never had such a kick, and this brew remains fresh and tangy on the finish, never cloying. Add the velvety mouthfeel and you've got a choco-brew that Willie Wonka would go bonkers for.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
I know, I know—I’ve reviewed this one before. But you can’t do a column on chocolate beers without including this, the granddaddy of all chocolate stouts. It’s suave yet assured and, like John Steed under fire, keeps its bowler-hatted composure no matter what. Chocolate malt multiplied by real dark chocolate equals classic, period.

Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Although they first brewed this last year to celebrate Ommegang’s tenth anniversary, the team decided to tweak the recipe a bit for the 2008 edition. I didn’t taste the original, but this year’s version is predictably luscious (has Ommegang ever made a bad beer?) and has almost unctuous chocolate flavors enlivened by racy, herbaceous Belgian-style crispness and an intense finish.

Moorhouse’s Black Cat
This brew from Burnley, Lancashire, is not made with chocolate, but it boasts definite chocolate malt flavors and warrants inclusion here. It’s as dark as Guinness but curiously hollow (and a little watery) through the mid-palate, with an ultra-dry cocoa-powder finish. At just 3.4 percent abv, you can quaff this “dark mild” regional specialty with little to regret the morning after.

Malheur Dark Brut
This heady (12% abv) Belgian beauty is a dark version of Malheur's méthode orignale (they can’t call it
méthode champenoise) beer, aged in specially toasted American oak, refermented in the bottle and subject to remuage and dégorgement, just like a champagne. The lofty price reflects the care it gets, but it’s worth every centime you'll pay. Staggering nose of interlaced vanilla, cacao and malt with oh-so-right acidity, a lavish mouthfeel and a finish as intricate as a Flemish painting.

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