Chocolate Stouts & Porters

Spring has finally sprung; the Beast from the East is almost a distant memory, there are rays of sunshine and nature is waking up from it’s long sleep. Easter is here and that can only mean one thing….Chocolate!

.. and, for the purpose of this blog… Beer!

It turns out that Beer and Chocolate are actually very close relations, it should come as no surprise as they go so well together. What better way of celebrating Easter is there than drinking a lovely chocolate stout or porter?

What came first, the chocolate or the beer? Well, it appears that the operation of chocolate making was stumbled upon by accident by the ancient people of Central America. They discovered that the sweet pulp and seeds from the cacao bean could be fermented to make a substance that we now as chocolate, but how did they discover this? Why would they have thought it was worth going to so much trouble, (they are fiddly little things)? Simply because for a thousand years prior, they had been going through the same process with the seeds and pulp of the cacao bean to make a 5% alcoholic drink that was their version of beer. This bitter drink of cocoa was enjoyed, alongside their usual alcoholic bevvy, and just as intoxicating and good for you but in a different way.

Professor John Henderson, Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, said “In the course of beer brewing, you discover that if you ferment the seeds of the plant you get this chocolate taste. It may be that the roots of the modern chocolate industry can be traced back to this primitive fermented drink.”

So, you can see, that that beer and chocolate is a natural combination and a perfect partnership and explains why you get this heavenly experience whenever you sink into a pint of chocolate stout or porter. Why not make it your mission to drink some this Easter weekend?

I’ve made it easy for you. Nigel and I have been out all evening, testing, tasting and researching. (It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.) So, in no particular order, here’s an Easter parade with a difference:

All Hail Ale, Westbourne: A very special and rare, Bourbon Oktober from Vibrant Forest 9%. Chocolate Vanilla Stout from Titanic Brewing (“if the Bourbon Oktober runs out”), Northern Monk, Festive Star, Mocha Porter 5.9% (key keg).

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Poole: Tapping party on Thursday evening of their Easter Chocolate Porter 4.5% and they have 3 bottles left of Treason.

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Bournemouth. Tapping party from 7pm for their Easter Stout, 4.5% – made with Belgian yeast, pretzels, sea salt, salted caramel and banana chocolate. It has a Belgian Dubbel flavour and sessionable.

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Southbourne: They are also having their tapping party on Thursday evening, for two beers. Unite Exotic made by the ladies on International Women’s day, which is a coconut and lime flavour cask ale. Also, their Easter chocolate Scottish ale. It has a chocolatey rather than a roasted flavour and is light and easy drinking and is made from cocoa nibs. They are rather curiously named it Chocness Monster, and weighs in at 5% abv.

Drop the Anchor Brewery, Christchurch: Mocha latte porter.

St Dunstan’s Beer Festival: Broken Dreams from Siren, a coffee & chocolate stout. 6.5%.

Other beers are also available, so I would also like to give the following pubs and micro pubs a mention:

Micro Moose, Winton: Triple FFF, Hallelujah 4.5%, Wantsum Hoppy Bunny 4.1% hoppy Easter ale, and Wantsum Black Prince porter a 3.9% rich, full bodied Kent Mild.

Silverback, Winton: Vibrant Forest, Flying Saucer (hoppy golden ale) 4.3%, Hattie Brown’s Crow Black 5.1%, Ascot Brewing Company, 5/4 Favourite (Golden ale) 4.6%

Firkin Shed: Vibrant Forest’s Kick Start (oat and coffee stout) 5.7%, Brew Shack’s 8 Grain Porter 5% and Gadd’s Black Pearl oyster stout 6.2%.

Brewhouse, Poole High Street: Ernie’s milk stout (Settle) 4.5%. Gadd’s oatmeal stout 4.6%, Bridgehouse Porter 4.5% and Severn, Ruby porter 4.8%.

Whatever floats your particular dreamboat, I’m sure you will find something you like there. If I have left anyone out, I apologise and if I haven’t mentioned something that you know about, please feel free to add it to this post, more the merrier. We will see you around this weekend, either in any of these pubs or at the branch social at St Dunstan’s Beer Festival on Friday or Wareham Beerex on Saturday, and there are loads of other beer festivals, just click on the EVENTS tab.

Have a wonderfully, hoppy, chocolatey Easter.

Lisa Jones