As the fog rolled in and the sun set on another glorious Saturday of college football, I decided it was prime time to open a blanket-worthy stout. But which one? As I perused my beer refrigerators (yes, I have more than one), a special brew caught my eye. The Cherry Chocolate Stout is the brainchild of homebrewers Jason Fields and Kevin Sheppard, who took their invention to the Stone March Madness Homebrew Competition and AHA Rally. Their winning entry was brewed on the production level with Mitch Steele of Stone and John Trogner of Tröegs Brewing Co. Congratulations guys!
This smooth stout was created using Callebaut chocolate liquor, vanilla beans, and a whopping 9000 pounds of tart and dark cherries. On the nose, rich notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, charred wood, vanilla, and roasted malts. On the palate, the dark chocolate melts in your mouth along with a pleasant cherry tartness that follows through to the finish. This stout is both drinkable and comforting, kind of like a box of chocolates.
*Note: Be sure, however to drink this stout cool. As it warms to room temperature, the liquified chocolate covered cherry becomes a bit too sweet and sticky...
The taste is that of a very smooth stout, with an intense tart cherry beginning and a cocoa smoothness dominating throughout the palate. The tartness from the cherries balances out the smooth sweetness, and the addition of cacao and vanilla beans add intricate layers of chocolate and vanilla to the flavor profile. Definitely a beer to savor slowly and evaluate as it warms and changes in your glass.
Until next time,
Toast your homebrewers, experiment with new flavors, and as always, Drink Craft Beer.