I know I'm about a week behind on this topic, but that's just how it works for me these days. Two weeks ago Boulevard Brewing Company released the 2012 Chocolate Ale, part of the Smokestack Series of special release beers, in collaboration with Christopher Elbow Chocolates. Beer and chocolate lovers alike scrambled to get their hands on some, but it was scarce and sold out quickly. In my infinite wisdom, I chose not to try and scramble, knowing instead that my brother's bar would have some on tap, and I could partake at my leisure.
Tempting fate is not one of my lessons easily learned, however, as it was by that Wednesday afternoon my 11 year old had been sick with a high fever for two days. We were not going out to eat at my brother's place, nor would we be served a glass of hoppy chocolate yumminess the next day, as the keg was tapped and sold out in about 8 hours. Oops.
My nearby Lukas Liquors had a recording on the phone announcing they were sold out. The World Market store clerk said "Oh yeah, we had some. For about 15 minutes."
Hmmph. Epic Fail.
Finally, after many calls, we found a liquor store that was getting in a new shipment and taking names for a waiting list. We dutifully left our name, and then went in the next morning to collect our prize. $15 for a litre bottle. (I heard later people were selling it on eBay for a lot more.)
Having caught a Facebook conversation in which my friend Average Jane suggested the Chocolate Ale would be better served closer to room temperature, we brought it of the fridge and let it sit for about 20 minutes before snapping off the Champagne-like cork contraption. And then we swirled and sipped, as if it were a glass of Pinot being served on a terra cotta patio in Napa Valley.
And it was good. Really, really good.
The chocolate kicks in more in the aftertaste than in the sip itself. My husband and I found ourselves polishing off that litre a little too fast, a little too easy. It's probably good this stuff isn't around for the regular part of the year.We shared the other bottle with friends we had over for the Super Bowl. It disappeared in minutes.
Here's some other good news: if you didn't get any Chocolate Ale in the frenzy of the past few weeks, never fear. A little bird tells me some restaurants may be holding some back to serve on Valentine's Day. Call around to your favorite places, because I'm not giving up my secret source.