You know what they say about girls and chocolate, right? Well, this was bought for the sole purpose of me seeing what chocolate beer was actually all about (plus it was on offer) and then I hit on the idea of giving it to Willow for Christmas. Because of, you know, what they say about girls and chocolate. Having done that I, of course, immediately felt left out and bought myself some. We shared the drinking of the beer and compared notes as we went. It was a wonderful bit of sport and I think I shall try and have this happen more often at home.
I may have ended up with the lion's share.
It is Triple Chocoholic and it is brewed by Saltaire Breweries, which I find doubly amusing because the whole point of Saltaire, when it was built by a philanthropic businessman, was that it would be a place of temperance and order. The mere fact that it has a brewery shows this is a failed aim, but then you could argue the fact that there is any unemployment there did that too. I digress.
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It fizzed. I wasn't really expecting that. I don't know what I expected from chocolate beer, but behaving in so normal a fashion wasn't it. It had a definite smell of chocolate to it too. The bottle informed me that there was chocolate malt, chocolate extract, actual chocolate and cocoa malt involved in the production. The smell was not unpleasant and certainly not the horrid kind of sickly chocolate that one sometimes finds with flavoured drinks of this kind, no, it was more like cooking chocolate, a baking sort of smell, easy on the nose and pleasing all round. The colour was dark and thick, like treacle I suppose, but more liquid-y. It fell into the glass like it wanted to be there and swirled pleasantly as the carbonation brought forth the barest hint of a head, then exploded into a frothy mess, and then settled once more to a more manageable amount.
Taste was good. Definite chocolate on the tongue at first, it lingered as the taste swirled and twirled, transforming slowly into a heavy and satisfying malt with some citrus-like tang of hops. To my mind this was the clever part, it made you remember that this was a beer and not a chocolate milk or something and it kept the proceedings from becoming over-indulgent, over-rich and nauseating. Then, once that bubbly citrus has died and the malt was receding it smacked you with the aftertaste of chocolate too. It was a well-balanced brew that did exactly as it needed to do. At 4.8% ABV it was no slouch either and punched about its weight.
Willow was confused about the whole affair, it was too much like chocolate and yet there was a beer in there, making it hard for her to really come to terms with it. It meant that there was more for me and I really didn't mind. Although it is a heavy beer it can be drunk at a reasonable pace and doesn't leave you feeling bloated and full as you sip - you could have a few pints of this before you'd have to retire to drain the lizard or whatever. It worked well with the chocolates that we had with it (from Hotel Chocolate), especially the tangier lemony ones, and all in all made everything that bit more indulgent.
Drink this with pudding, after a hearty Christmas meal, with something trashy on the telly or some music playing softly in another room. Drink when you're close to bed, relaxed and tired, and drink knowing that no matter how much it tastes like chocolate it won't break that New Year's resolution you know you're going to be making soon. It is a heavy ale, so make sure you aren't planning anything approaching a party afterwards and make sure you have time in the morning to appreciate a decadent lie in. So, perhaps best after Boxing Day when there are less relatives getting in the way. I very much approve and recommend it as a Christmas present from here on in.