I recently picked up a bottle of the Harpoon Chocolate Stout as something of an impulse purchase. See, I was taking a ride and happened to be in the neighborhood of one of my favorite beer stores, Cable Beverages in Bardonia, NY.
Fast-forward about 30 minutes, and what do I see from the checkout line, arms full of beers, but a bunch of Christmas and Winter Beers that I never tried before. Strangely enough, this Harpoon Chocolate Stout caught my eye among the strange and oddly-sized bottles of European Christmas beers. I like Chocolate Stouts, but I haven’t been too impressed with the Harpoon Brewing offerings I’ve had so far. (OK, so I’ve only had their Oktoberfest and UFO which doesn’t make me a Harpoon Brewery expert, but neither one really thrilled me.)
So, I asked if I could take a single from the six-pack so I wouldn’t be stuck with six bottles if I didn’t like it, and to my surprise the manager said ‘sure’! So, for under two bucks I was able to try one of my favorite styles of beer from a less-than-favorite brewery! Can’t lose, right?
Turns out, I probably should have grabbed that last six-pack! Its a good beer!
Here’s what I liked about the 5.9%ABV limited-release beer out of Windsor, Vermont.
The head was nice and thick, had nice retention and a great milk-chocolate color. Off to a good start! The aroma was great too! I could immediately smell the bitter chocolate malts, and according to the label, added chocolate flavor.
The taste was good too. Its obviously going to be a chocolate-dominated beer, and it was. Chocolate and chocolate malt flavors that alternated between sweet at first, and then grew more bitter as the beer lingered. Nicely balanced, I thought – in regard to the chocolate flavors anyway!
Not much in the way of hops here, and perhaps that’s the main drawback in a beer like this one. Its all chocolate. Very one-dimensional, but if you read the label before buying it, you shouldn’t be too surprised! Chocolate Stout.
The body was slightly underwhelming, I found it a little thinner than I would have liked, but it was OK. I also think this would be a good beer to have with dessert. Too chocolaty to have with dinner or anything like that. Harpoon’s Website suggests sweet desserts and fresh strawberries as food pairing ideas, and I would agree completely. Chocolate-covered strawberries would be even better I think!
Overall, I dug the Harpoon Chocolate Stout quite a bit. Its only around from November to January in the Harpoon ‘Winter Mix’ variety pack, or in six-packs like I found it in. I’m wishing I picked up the whole six-pack now, but I’ll be sure to look for it next year, as should you if you like chocolate stouts.
If I had a 3.73 star rating, I’d award that, but since I don’t (we always round down here) I’ll have to give this chocolate stout a 3.5. Very good, but not quite my favorite chocolate beer which is still the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. Hmmm. That one should be hitting shelves soon too!