Style: American Porter brewed with Chocolate
From: San Francisco, CA
Brewer’s Note: “Our Biere de Chocolat celebrates the long and lauded history of chocolate production in San Francisco. Our aim was to create a beer bursting with cocoa flavors and aromas, balancing sweet and savory to create a complex but quaffable chocolate brew. To accomplish this we partnered with Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco to create this rich brew brimming with chocolate character. Working with the unique flavors of Dandelion’s single-source beans, we created this decadent beer by layering in smoked and dark-roasted malts with citrusy Ivanhoe hops from Clearlake, CA. Finally, we added a blend of hand-roasted cocoa beans sourced from Madagascar and Río Caribe, Venezuela. The Madagascar beans add bright berry-cocoa flavors, while the Río Caribe adds dark chocolate and bourbon notes. A touch of vanilla rounds out the supporting flavors to create an eminently drinkable beer that is a chocolate lover’s beer through and through./ About the Chocolate: Dandelion Chocolate roasts small-batch, single-origin cocoa beans to create rich, complex chocolate bars that highlight the unique flavors of their different terroirs. All of their chocolates are made with a “Bean to Bar” approach that results in unparalleled depth and character. Everything is done by hand—including roasting, cracking, sorting, winnowing, grinding, conching, and tempering small batches of beans and then molding and packaging each bar.”
The beer pours a dark and (surprise, surprise) chocolaty brown with a small head of light tan, miniscule bubbles. In body, the beer appears clean, but opaque, with nothing of the other side of the glass coming through. On the nose, the beer smells of seaweed salad, milk chocolate, light roast coffee, butter, Hershey’s chocolate, soft vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate Easter bunnies, and quite a lot more. The nose is actually quite simple and delicate, but in its delicacy it seems to smell like something different every time I stick my nose in it. The chocolate is definitely present in the nose, but is so nuanced and complex that, to my nose, it kind of smells like all of the chocolates of the world. On the tongue, the beer tastes of sweet vanilla and bitter coffee/dark chocolate roast. Dark fruit acidity moves in towards the finish to give depth to the sip, while the sweet vanilla and roast continue to coat the tongue. In flavor, the beer tastes dominantly of vanilla with only subtle complexities coming from the other ingredients. As you sip, you get notes of roast coffee, dark chocolate, buttery chocolate, chocolate covered raisins, and even some plum character, but these all play second fiddle to a thick blanket of sweet vanilla. The vanilla is not off putting, and is actually rather nice, but it’s too bad that it dominates the other flavors. Vanilla and bitter roast coffee blend on the finish, which is nice as the coffee notes definitely go toe-to-toe with the vanilla and help to calm it. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, with a middling carbonation that does add a nice scrub to the tongue and keeps this beer from being too dry. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left quite wet with saliva, suggesting a stronger presence of acidity than I originally detected. Overall, this is a nice flavored porter. I do wish the chocolate flavors were a little more dominant in the flavor, since it is called “Biere de Chocolat,” but the vanilla is nice too. It’s a good transition into spring beer, however, and would do lovely paired with desserts.