With Easter (and our beer and chocolate pairing event) on the horizon, our thoughts have turned to chocolate. More specifically, chocolate beers.
We'll be revealing the amazing beers we've paired with the creations of chocolatier Isabelle Alaya from Melange Chocolate Shop after Wednesday's event. In the meantime, here are some of the more overtly chocolatey numbers currently gracing our shelves. NB: most of these are BIG beers. Handle with care,
Siren Bones of a Sailor III Imperial Porter (UK) 9.5% - A limited edition imperial porter with cacao, vanilla and raspberries aged in Pedro Ximenez barrels. Not sure there's much more we can add to this - it tastes as remarkable as it sounds.
Wild Beer Millionaire Salted Caramel & Chocolate Milk Stout (UK) 4.7% - When this beer first arrived in store a couple of months back we dropped everything, ripped open the case and downed a bottle at 10am. Shameful, yes, but we weren't disappointed. A beautifully balanced milk stout with a long chocolate finish (and by no means over-sweet), we could drink this all day. But we won't. We've got work to do.
Chocolate Marble (UK) 5.5% - This Manchester beer flies out the door when we're lucky enough to have it in (which we do right now, thanks to a tasty new shipment). Deeply chocolatey without being heavy, it features coffee and liquorice notes, and is sublimely drinkable.
Stone Stochasticity Project Master Of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout (US) 9.7% - The culmination of an April Fool's joke, the marketing materials for this beer read "Brewed with coffee beans, cocoa and coffee beans (not a typo)." This is a golden ale made with sheets of pure cocoa and one heck of a lot of coffee that drinks like a stout. (Or a frappé if you shut your eyes.)
De Molen Heaven & Hell Imperial Stout (Netherlands) 12% - A monster of an imperial stout full of chocolate, caramel, roasted, brown and pils malts and topped off with bitter hops, this is suitably big on roasty chocolate and molasses with woody vanilla and floral notes. No one does dark beers quite like De Molen. This one is so good it's sinful.
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (US) 10% - Quite simply, chocolate in a bottle. A blend of six malts and many months of ageing gives this imperial stout its massively rich chocolate aroma and flavour.
Harbour Chocolate & Vanilla Imperial Stout (UK) 8.7% - We first tried this at Craft Beer Rising, fell in love and sought it out in bottle. A Ronseal beer, this absolutely does what it says on the tin, rammed so full of cacao nibs and vanilla pods you'll never need to buy pudding again.