I stopped in Costco yesterday (albeit a bit early to hit the "Senior Buffet") and picked up some supplies. In the beer aisle, as I passed the very good and previously reviewed Kirkland offerings along with the inane "Turn your Mountains Blue" Coors Light, I found Sam Adams Winter Beers Collection, and since Old Fezziwig, Holiday Porter and Winter Lager have long been cold weather favorites, I picked up a case. $26 for 24 SA beers is a darned good deal if you ask this pensioner.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Chocolate Bock as one of the beers! I had always wanted to try this brew, and when I got home late last night I pulled one from the fridge. I read the label to discover there were "nibs" (whatever they are) from Ecuador used in the process, and that process included aging the beer on a bed of cocoa. Sounds a bit messy, but I poured the dark brew into a chalice-style glass to more fully savor what became an impressive nose, and Willy Wonka dutifully called out to my olfactory lobes.
The first sip made me think that this may be the silkiest, smoothest beer I have had in many moons, and the flavor was most rewarding. I remember treasuring chocolate egg creams at my childhood soda fountain, and this beer brought me back there. Not overly sweet, but definitely chocolatey, toasty and unbelievably smooth--and it improved as it warmed. It was liquid velvet on the tongue and palate with a finish that hung around like cigar smoke over a 1940's pool table.
I still chuckle at those Coors Light Silver Bullet commercials which attempt to convince beer folks that colder beer is better beer. What nonsense. And all you need to prove it is to pick up some of this stuff. I am disappointed that only four bottles come with this SA Winter pack, too. I'd have evicted the SA Lager (a good beer in its own right) in this collection and made room for four more of these babies. In fact, I'm probably going to see if Dan Ratti can get it in cases.
It's going to be long winter. Most days, Old Man Winter will do his best to turn my nibs blue. But he can't if they're in my Sam Adams Chocolate Bock.