Chocolate Ale is back — this time, with berries.
Boulevard Brewing Co. announced this week that 750-milliliter bottles of its popular cocoa-infused specialty beer will be released in Kansas City starting Jan. 12. Distribution to other cities will follow.
This is the fourth release for Chocolate Ale, which debuted in 2011 as a collaboration with Kansas City chocolatier Christopher Elbow. Like the original batch, Chocolate Ale With Raspberry is brewed with cocoa nibs from the Dominican Republic, which lend rich chocolate flavor. But this marks the first time Boulevard has added raspberry puree and extract to the recipe.
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During a tasting at the brewery, Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels said that he and Elbow experimented with cherry and caramel before deciding on raspberry, which balances the rich flavor of chocolate with tart, fruity flavor.
“Raspberry and chocolate is an iconic combination,” said Elbow, who sells raspberry-flavored chocolates at Elbow Artisan Chocolates.
Pauwels popped the cork and poured the pinkish brew into tulip glasses. Elbow held the glass to his nose to test the aroma.
“Smells good?” Pauwels asked.
“Smells delicious,” Elbow replied.
Pauwels likened the beer’s flavor profile to a “roller coaster.” Bright raspberry flavor shines through first, followed by creamy, rich chocolate. Then the acidity of the raspberry returns for a tart, crisp finish.
Just don’t let the sweet flavors fool you: At 9.1 percent alcohol, this beer packs a punch.
In previous years the demand of Chocolate Ale outpaced supply. Bottles sold out quickly, and some stores instated one- or two-bottle limits. In the Chocolate Ale announcement post, Boulevard ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner wrote that “over the past three years, we have brewed the maximum amount of Chocolate Ale we could without interfering with production of our other year-round and seasonal beers.”
Chocolate Ale With Raspberry isn’t the only beer Boulevard plans to release next week. Irish Ale, an early spring seasonal brewed in tribute to Ireland’s red ales, and Early Riser Coffee Porter, a new beer brewed with coffee from Maps Coffee Roasters, are also set for a Jan. 12 release. Early Riser is already available on tap at many local bars. Six-packs will be available Jan. 12.
Thirsty for more beer coverage? Here are all the new beers Boulevard plans to introduce in 2016.