Chocolate beers, like chocolate bars, fall along a wide
sweetness continuum. Put Rogue’s popular chocolate stout right in the
middle. Far to one side, there’s the layered bitterness of Brooklyn
Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout, which is 10 percent alcohol and uses
only heavily roasted malted barley, but no cocoa, to get its flavor. On
the other side, you’ll find this bottled Hershey’s bar. Brewing with
seven specialty malts, Sisters’ Three Creeks Brewing adds Belgian cacao
nibs by the pound to create the sweet and smooth Five Pine porter.
Interestingly, Three Creeks has a new brewmaster, outspoken
traditionalist Zach Beckwith. The Lompoc-trained Beckwith is a vocal
proponent of old-fashioned English ales who has criticized “novelty”
brews but jumped from the Old Town upstart Pints Brewing only a few
months after heating his kettles to take over this hungry-to-expand
brewery. So far, Beckwith is still putting chocolate in his beer—I
expect some new bitterness, one way or another.