Let's Hoist a Chocolate Beer!
You've got your chocolate snobs, and you've got your beer snobs -- so how about your chocolate beer snobs? Believe it or not, they already exist!
If mere hot chocolate and chocolate milk have lost their appeal, then maybe it's time to set your sights on a new chocolate beverage: chocolate beer. No, not beer that kind of tastes like chocolate due to the malt content; we're talking about the genuine article here -- beer brewed with chocolate. Yes, really.
Leave it to the beer snobs to babble on about the chocolaty overtones of some dark, finely-roasted malts; now you can have the real thing in your beer glass. And since Chocolate + Beer = Extremely Awesome, we figured you'd love to learn all about it -- so dig right in!
Beery good chocolate flavor
True chocolate beer doesn't just mimic the taste of chocolate, it actually includes chocolate as one of its primary ingredients. Recently, commercial brewers have been experimenting with two ways to accomplish this feat: some add chocolate essences to finished beers, while others include chocolates in the original mash.
The result? After dinner drink and dessert in one compact package. One tasty example of the craft is Rogue Chocolate Stout, which mixes a tangy finished stout with an infusion of bittersweet Dutch chocolate. New York's Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence is made in a similar fashion, using powdered chocolate.
Right down to the mash
At the other end of the chocolate beer continuum are those elixirs brewed from mashes with added chocolate; these are rarer than flavored beers, because the brewing process often overwhelms the flavors of the original ingredients. This isn't the case for Young's Double Chocolate Stout of Bedford, England.
Young's is rather like Guinness, which some beer drinkers consider the sine qua non of true stouts (and beer in general, really). But in addition to its dark, creamy texture and coffee-ish overtones, it's reminiscent of a healthy swig of chocolate milk -- mostly due to the bittersweet chocolate incorporated into the mash.
Most commercial chocolate beer brewers hold onto their recipes tighter than a miser gloms onto a dollar, so don't expect to be able to easily imitate the brews mentioned above. Fortunately, for those homebrewers with the wherewithal and the patience, decent recipes can be found online.
They might not be the same as the commercial brands, but as every homebrewer knows, homebrew tends to be tastier than store-bought beer, anyway -- and it's usually cheaper it the long run, if you don't mind making several cases at a time!
So there you have it -- a number of fine blends of two of the world's favorite things, beer and chocolate. Handcrafted or purchased, what could be more extreme, more sublime? Just keep in mind the axiom you'd apply to any other intoxicant: don't mix chocolate beer and driving, please!