We had the pleasure of trying Almanac Beer Co.'s new Biere de Chocolat, a robust porter made in conjunction with so-hot-right-now Dandelion chocolate. The beer smells like rich, dark cocoa, but its flavor isn't as sweet as you might expect — it's got a layered, malty bitterness that we found quite appealing, and makes sense if you've ever had one of Dandelion's excellent single-origin bars, which have no additional flavors and little to no added sugar.
In the Biere de Chocolat, Almanac uses a blend of the chocolate factory's Madagascar and Rio Caribe cacao beans for a balanced, hearty brew. "We tried a few [beans] and really liked the balance of the Madagascar's acid and brightness, and the Rio Caribe's depth, complexity and chocolatiness," says Almanac co-founder Jesse Friedman. We liked the balance too, especially how the chocolate notes played off the smoked and dark-roasted malt and citrusy Ivanhoe hops, making for a near-perfect beer to drink on a cold winter evening.
The boys at Almanac suggest pairing the 5.5 percent ABV Biere de Chocolat with Texas-style BBQ brisket, a flavor marriage that sounds made in heaven. We also tried the beer with a piece of dark chocolate, which made the cocoa notes of the beer more dominant.
Right now Biere de Chocolat is on tap at Shotwell's, the Sycamore, Dark Horse Inn, and Amsterdam Cafe, but come February it will be sold in four-bottle packs — the perfect Valentine's Day present for the beer-lover in your life.