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Tonight’s beer was an impulse buy during the last time I stopped off at the Four Seasons beer store. That was the visit where I spotted some new members on the shelf, namely a few styles from the O’Fallon Brewery out of (of all places) O’Fallon, Missouri. You may remember the smoked porter I had not too long ago.
The beer I chose as an adjunct to the Smoke was their Cherry Chocolate Beer, “a malt beverage with natural flavors” as the label stated. Why did I get this beer? First, I was curious as to what it would taste like. Second, my wife is a self admitted chocoholic and I thought it’d be interesting to get her opinion on it.
When I got it home, I checked out the blurb on the side of the sixpack carton since the bottle label held no information.
Here’s how we have some fun with our beer! We design a recipe to fit a particular season of the year and then we brew only a limited number of batches. So when it’s gone it’s gone… until next year!
O’Fallon Cherry Chocolate is a dark wheat beer that tastes like a chocolate covered cherry… only better! We use four kinds of grain, two hop varieties along with natural cherry and chocolate extracts for a smooth, delicious brew… the perfect sipping beer for the cooler winter months. Cheers!
For some reason, the term extract didn’t sit with me that well. I had thoughts of chemists wearing white lab coats mixing goo extracted from any number of animal and plant sources. I also remember the trouble I had learning to extract the square root of a number longhand. Then I realized that I, myself have brewed beer using malt extracts. Then, Wikipedia came to the rescue:
An extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Extracts may be sold as tinctures or in powder form.
The aromatic principles of many spices, nuts, herbs, fruits, etc., and some flowers, are marketed as extracts, among the best known of true extracts being almond, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, pistachio, rose, spearmint, vanilla, violet, and wintergreen.
Didn’t really know water was a solvent, but I did know that ethanol is the type of alcohol that’s in beer. But I digress.
Saturday rolled around and ebbed into darkness before i knew it. After a supper of a couple of fried baloney sandwiches and one of three remaining pieces of pumpkin pie. I was ready for some additional taste adventure. I’d top it all off with a cherry chocolate flavored beer.
Rate Beer.com suggested drinking this beer from a flute. I could only imagine using a flute as a very large straw with some modifications. I chose the next best thing, a stemmed glass which closely resembled the picture on the site. I grabbed the first bottle and popped the top, noticing that they were twist-offs.
The beer poured up and filled the entire top half of the glass with foam. I found this odd for a beer with fruit in it. Usually fruit beers have little or no head after they’re poured. The liquid was a cloudy orange-brown and had plenty of quickly rising bubbles. The head finally mellowed out to a thick and creamy half-inch. The aroma made my mouth water. It smelled like chocolate with a hint of cherry. Amazing.
The first sip was delightful. The chocolate hit my taste buds with a bang and had the after reports of the cherry flavor rounding out the taste. The second sip had me wondering if I’d last through the whole sixpack, or if the taste would get too sweet and cloying.
There was body to this beer but it wasn’t the same taste with all the chocolate dominating the palate. The crispness at the end could only be attributed to the carbonation and not the hops. At only 10 IBUs it’s a wonder any bitterness at all showed up in the lab.
As I got to the bottom of the first glass, the taste seemed to thin out a bit in the middle, but each sip was still loaded with the chocolate cherry cordiality. The taste was not like a chocolate cherry phosphate soft drink however. There was still some body in the middle that differentiated it from the soda. But this beer was more like a dessert rather than a drink. Yet it was still a beer, with its foam and tendency to make me belch every so often.
What can I say about this beer? The taste is in fact as advertised. It’s like drinking one of those chocolate cherry candies one finds in the Whitman’s Sampler boxes. Then again, aren’t those the ones that get eaten first? I could see having one of these beers after a great meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables. As the Frugal Gourmet once said, “The sweetness of the dessert course is a signal to the palate that the meal is over.”
The ladies will love this beer. Bring over a sixer of this stuff to her place next time you visit. But bring along an additional something with some good barley malts and hops in it as well for yourself. For a guy, I’d say one or two of these is enough. As much as you may like those cherry chocolate cordials, doesn’t mean you’d eat a whole boxful.
Try this beer at least once for the novel taste experience. After that, you’ll find yourself looking for something a little more manly on the next visit to the beer store.
Taste: A- > For the first beer. C+ for the rest.
Smoothness: B > Even the third one went down easy.
Drinkability: C+ > Drink all six? Pfft!
Bang for the buck: B- > Cheaper than a coupla boxes of those candies.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: It’s cloudy. Oh, I smell the chocolate. (sip) Hmm. (silence) (sip) It’s not bad. (sip) It’s more like a baker’s chocolate rather than a Hershey bar. (sip) It’s not bad. I don’t get much cherry though, I get more chocolate. (sip) I think it should be a little colder. (She sure can pick apart those chocolate molecules, eh?)