As I mentioned in my review of Guinness Draught, my introduction to drinking beer was through a finer brew — Guinness Draught. I didn’t mess around with swill and then find my way into craft beer later on. My first beer was a good one that set the bar really high for everything that would follow.
In the mid-1990s when I began to branch out beyond Guinness Draught there was really only one bottle shop in town that carried any sort of “craft beer” selection worth mentioning. I had no clue what to purchase or what was even “good” or “bad” beer. One of the sales guys at the shop mentioned consulting any of the books on beer by Michael Jackson. No, not the sequin glove “king of pop” MJ but rather the “beer hunter” MJ.
I was able to locate one of the beer hunter Michael Jackson’s books at my local public library and found myself intrigued by Jackson’s discussion of “chocolate/dessert beers.” One of the beers that received Jackson’s highest recommendation was the chocolate stout by the English brewery Young’s. Amazingly, my local bottle shop carried the highly-recommended beer and I knew I had to give it a try. I have been a die-hard fan ever since.
Chocolate in beer? Really?!?: Most folks know that chocolate pairs well with wine. Some folks might like a chocolate with their beer. But what is up with chocolate in their beer? Actually, adding chocolate (either in the form of cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, baking chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, or all of the above) to a sweet stout is quite common. Breweries such as Rogue, Fort Collins, Abita, Brooklyn, Samuel Smith’s, Clown Shoes, and Great Divide all offer distinctive takes on the classic chocolate stout.
There are other, more potent chocolate stouts on the market than the Young’s. The chocolate stouts by Rogue, Samuel Smith, and Great Divide are take-no-prisoners dessert beers that demand you pair them with your most decadent chocolate edibles. What I find so appealing about the Young’s is its overall balance and everyday drinkability. The Young’s is chocolaty, but it doesn’t taste like a full blown milkshake. It has the acidity of a sweet stout, but it is balanced by the chocolate. There is almost no coffee taste whatsoever. This is a suave, smooth, and sophisticated chocolate stout that can be enjoyed on its own or nicely paired with all manner of sweeties. It is a beer that keeps calm and carries on. In other words, just what you would expect from a chocolate stout brewed at an English brewery.
If you enjoy stout beers but are ready for something a little different, chocolate stouts can provide a glorious rabbit trail. Should you decide to go down that rabbit trail, make sure that Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is one of your first stops along the way.
Beer prayer: Gracious God, we give thanks for Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. You give us chocolate, you give us beer, and then you gift mankind with the ingenuity to put the two together. Glorious dominion is the result as you move things from glory to glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!
My Untappd rating for Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is 5/5.