Sunday, 5 March 2017

Chocolate Porter

Another speciality Sunday that is supported by my patronage of the Crafty One Bottle Shop in my locale of Ilson. I can't claim that it is supported in any way beyond the fact that I popped in and got me some chocolate ales and heavy stouts and porters for this dark part of the year. The window resounds with rain, the night with cold. It's a night for some porter and some chocolate to make me feel a bit better. Tonight it's the return of the rather maligned Meantime who sold out and I first encountered back last summer on holiday at Center Parcs. It's their Chocolate Porter because I didn't telegraph that at all!

I do rather like the shape of their bottles, if truth be known, and if I ever get a bottle capper I suspect I I shall hoard these for to use with my own brewing. Would you like to know more?

This gave a big note of carbonation on opening and poured with exactly the sort of character one would expect from an excited porter as I poured it into my glass. Big head was thus formed and then it hung around as I did my usual faff before getting round to smell and actually try the ale. The chocolate on the nose puts me in mind of the sort of dry chocolate of the Montezuma's Chocolate Lager (click here) and the consistency on the pour suggests a more lager like quality than a porter or a stout. That's not a criticism, just an observation. Plenty of activity and plenty of fizz on a thin looking liquid that should do quite well. Dry nose and the sort of tail-wagging excitement that I've not seen outside a mongrel terrier.

Oddly thin opening with a bit of a weak chocolate presence that then falls into something a bit more interesting with the use of the carbonation and some roasted notes on the tip of the tongue. Fills out across the tongue easily enough without any real fuss and certainly no great shakes. There's an element of that lager here again, being thin and dry rather than full and rich, but that passes as the bittering end points reach around the sides of the cheeks to pool beneath the jowls on the way to the back of the mouth and onward to the aftertaste. Despite being exactly what one would expect from a dark porter it does suffer somewhat in comparison to last week's mighty Billionaire (click here), which is a shame because this is not a bad brew at all. Not something to make dispatches but something that will become something of the talk of the platoon following a routine jaunt on the front lines, one may even go so far as to use the highly salubrious term 'bants' - it is the sort of ale that would offer a cheeky Nando's.

It's a dry chocolate malt that does the job, there's little in the bittering hop department and nothing huge on the sweetening front. Mainly this is a serviceable and sessionable feeling porter that does exactly what it sets out to do. It would not go amiss for my repose of an evening with something like Idle Thoughts by Jerome K. Jerome on an evening at a favourite hotel of mine down south. Equally, it would pair well with food and make short work of any kind of issue you'd had in your week by dint of being the rather deceptive 6.5% ABV - which I shall admit is not really noticeable from the taste nor the aftertaste. Speaking of, the aftertaste is a tad on the dry side, meaning that it is less thirst-quenching as it is thirst-suppressing. The sort of ale that invaded Normandy in the bocage and fired over 4 million bullets to every casualty caused by bullets - it is suppressing fire. As such it could quite happily accompany an autumn or winter meal or immediately follow a summer barbeque. I suspect it would be less effective in spring or with something rich and spicy.

I shouldn't complain. Buying it at my local bottle shop means that it has inevitably been compared to beers much its superiors and it does suffer at that. It is decent and not bad at all but it is no Wild Beer Co. brew and nor does it really match the majesty of the Saint Petersburg (click here) nor the sublime amazement of 1643 Puritan Stout (click here). I'd get it again, certainly, but I do feel that this would be a bit on the dear side for what you get at £2.60 compared to the eminently worth it prices of £4.10 for a Billionaire or the £3.60 of Saint Petersburg or the £3.10 for the 1643 Puritan Stout (which, by the way, is an absolute bargain!).

Enjoy best following chips on the Promenade after seeing the Illuminations at Blackpool. The wind whips up from the Irish Sea and the waves crash into the flood barriers, garish trams pass with clanking and twinkling lights, crowds pulse and push along the shore whilst the smell of gravy and vinegar fills your nostrils. Call into a secluded side street, pull out your bottle of Chocolate Porter and open, now is the time to enjoy a dry follow-up to the hastily consumed chips and fortify against the wind for to walk to the south pier and see the tableaux with your children. Maybe they're still running the 1970s vintage dish running away with the spoon but, sadly, maybe they aren't. Mind you, a chocolate porter won't go amiss and may assuage those sad feelings a little longer.

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