Beer of the Week: Boulevard Brewing Chocolate Ale (Batch #8)

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City makes some of the more interesting beers out there in their Smokestack Series of beers, especially if you are talking about anything Belgian Style. Their spring seasonal beer in that series is a Chocolate Ale. Being a fan of chocolate beers, I had to give that one a shot. I originally was lucky enough to head into Chuck’s Hop Shop when they had it on tap and liked it so much that I purchased a bottle that day to bring home. The review is for the bottle, a 750 ml one, that cost about $10, and is batch #8 of the Chocolate Ale.

From the Boulevard website:

In developing this beer, Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels sought to harmonize the interplay of chocolate and malt, with each supporting and enhancing, but not overwhelming, the other. Just the right chocolate was essential. Elbow recommended a rare variety from the Dominican Republic, prized for its robust flavor and aroma, and a personal favorite. More than a mere flavoring, the chocolate — in the form of nibs, or crushed, roasted beans – was incorporated into the brewing process itself.
Color (EBC) 41
Bitterness (IBUs) 24
Original Gravity (Plato) 20
Terminal Gravity (Plato) 4
Alcohol (ABV) 9.1%
CO2 – Bottles
CO2 – Kegs

The beer pours hazy orange with a cream white head. Slight hints of hops and malt are hidden behind roasted chocolate and cocoa on the nose. Taking the first sip of this beer is like biting into a good dark chocolate bar. There are notes of roast on the front followed by a slightly fruity background and finishing with intense chocolate fades slowly and pleasantly into the night. The beer has a crispness to it and there are slight notes of sugar and malt, but the chocolate is really the star. Unlike most chocolate beers, which are more like drinking a chocolate drink (hot cocoa for example), this beer retains a great deal of the fruity characteristics of the chocolate itself and is more like a liquid chocolate bar. It is well balanced and definitely something that you should try if you are looking for something that has more complexity than just chocolate flavoring in it.

Boulevard produced an outstanding beer here and it will be interesting to see if the next go around keeps with the same recipe or they try something different.

Boulevard Chocolate Ale (batch #8) cruises in with a sweet 4 cacao pods out of 5.

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