Stylin’ & Profilin’ is a brief look at different beer styles that will help you learn whether they’re right for you. Ultimately, words can’t truly turn you on to a solid craft beer. You have to smell, taste, and savor each sip to truly discover if it’s one you’ll come back to in the future. But the background info obtained in this post won’t hurt anything either.
What Is A Chocolate Beer?
Few things in the world make people as happy as chocolate and beer. Chocolate is a culinary delight that serves as the spotlight ingredient in so many of the foods in which we indulge. And beer…well, what hasn’t been said about the happiness we find in a tall pint glass? A marriage between the two is quite frankly a dream come true.
Chocolate beers are a flavorful extension of the Stout family. A Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley in addition to the hops, water, and yeast. The name “stout” was derived from the generic term given to the strongest, or “stoutest,” porters, typically ranging between 7-8% alcohol by volume (ABV).
As craft beer has evolved, so has the diversity behind stouts. The American Stout, which was originated and inspired by English and Irish Stouts, has redefined beer flavor, aroma, and overall enjoyment forever more thanks to breweries nationwide pushing the envelope and combining the basic elements of stouts with more of your palate’s favorites (i.e., chocolate). Brewers have broken the molds of originality by highly hopping their brews, as well as adding chocolate and/or coffee to complement the roasted flavors produced from the stout’s natural ingredients. Some stouts are even aged in Bourbon or whiskey barrels. Overall, the hop bitterness of a stout is wide, but most you come across are well balanced with the malts and other ingredients.
Chocolate beer is incredibly diverse in the ways it can be enjoyed. Of course, it doesn’t get much better than a rich, chocolate beer straight from the glass on a cold winter’s day. But I’ve also combined chocolate beers with vanilla ice cream to create a chocolate beer float, as well as cooked a beef roast that I marinated in Southern Tier Choklat. And although I’ve never tried this myself, I’ve had friends who have combined chocolate and raspberry beers to bring together a sweet delicacy of flavor-packed libations. Few other beer styles lend themselves to this sort of experimentation.
In my beer travels, the chocolate beer that’s yet to be topped is none other than the aforementioned Southern Tier Choklat. Southern Tier still ranks high as one of my favorite breweries, and Choklat is in my top 3 of all the beers they produce. When I look outside and see a frozen tundra in my wake, it comforts me to know that the brutal winter months also bring with it Choklat and other fantastic chocolate beers.
Speaking of other fantastic beers, one I have to mention doesn’t necessarily classify as a “chocolate” beer, but contains chocolate and is one of the tastiest stouts you’ll ever find: Founders Breakfast Stout. This seasonal American Imperial/Double Stout is one of the most popular beers around, hitting the scales at 8.3% ABV and made with two types of coffee, as well as bitter and imported chocolates. This beer is a taste explosion and a stout lover’s dream!
Chocolate beers, and stouts in general, are perfect cold weather beers. There’s something about that thick, rich, balanced flavor in the midst of a stiff cold front that enhances the beer drinking experience and makes the consumption all the more enjoyable. Next time you look outside and get angry about the snow, take solace in the fact that the warming of your insides is only a chocolate stout away!