Soaking Up the Suds

Kick off Parade Day with a chocolate stout

OUR BI-WEEKLY BEER COLUMN GIVES YOU A TASTY RECOMMENDATION

I’m not a big fan of cocoa. I can certainly respect the skill that goes into the making of artisanal chocolates and will even indulge myself with some on occasion, but I don’t have the cravings for it that the choc-o-holics do. It’s great, but the thought of it is rarely enough to get my taste buds salivating.
Chocolate stouts, on the other had, are a completely different story. They excite me in ways that I’m ashamed to talk about. I don’t believe there is a support group for this particular malady, sadly.
My only recourse is to act out and drink any new chocolate stout I come across. This is the very style of brew that got me into drinking beer in the first place. Suffice to say, I make it a point to pick up any I find.
This week, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of coming across a bottle of Ommegang’s Chocolate Indulgence. The bottle promised a “true Belgian-style Chocolate Stout.” Of the few things I know about Belgian, the knowledge that they take their chocolate and their beer very seriously is high on my list. Plus, if there was someone who could pull of their wonderful combination properly, it would be Ommegang.
If you are unfamiliar with Ommegang, let me bring you up to speed. Located it Cooperstown, N.Y., they make some serious beer. They have a penchant for Belgian-style brews and might just be the best brewery in the states at making them. Their brews have won tons of awards and for good reason.
They’re unique, authentic, and do everything a beer is supposed to do. Ommegang is undoubtedly on their game.
Chocolate Indulgence is a great example of this. The pour was beautiful. The beer is incredibly dark with an ample creamy head that screams chocolate and leaves great lacing all the way down the glass. The smell is also very pleasant. While the smell of chocolate is abundant, there are also scents of dark malts, coffee, booze, and something a bit spicy, almost like an unlit cigar. Its intensity in the nose really raised expectations for that first sip.
Thankfully, I was not let down. There is a wonderful dark chocolate flavor up front that fades nicely into some chocolate maltyness. There is a slight bit of sourness from the yeast that plays incredibly well with everything else. The taste of alcohol floats around in the middle, letting you know that it truly has a 7 percent ABV as advertised. As the brew warms and the tongue acclimates to all the tastes going on, the nice sweet chocolate starts to overwhelm everything else in the best of all possible ways.
This beer was incredibly rich. I certainly wouldn’t recommend more than a pint at most, as it would be a bit much to handle. Even though I enjoyed it thoroughly, it was a slight task to get to the bottom of my glass. Aside from being a lot of chocolate, the 750 ml bottle is just plain a lot of stout. This is certainly one to share. The good news is, I’m pretty sure sharing some Chocolate Indulgence is a great way to make some new friends. It’s an incredibly well crafted beer in most every aspect.
Who can’t appreciate that?

-James Crane