Double Chocolate Stout by Fort Collins Brewery

Black as tar, sporting a frothy beige head that looks like the whip cream on top of a milkshake and leaving lots of lace, Double Chocolate Stout is a formidable beer.  The bouquet is definitely full of chocolate and coffee, with some yeast and an earthy, Irish mossy, kind of smokiness.  It’s a bitter beer, and a little too bitter lacking enough sweetness to balance it out.  It is smooth and fairly drinkable overall, but I’d keep some real chocolate nearby to enjoy in tandem with Double Chocolate Stout.

Sam Adams Chocolate Bock

Deep brown with a hint of ruby and a creamy, 1-finger head, Sam Adams Chocolate Bock is beautiful to behold.  There is a whiff of yeast and cocoa in the opening “pish”, and a tangy, tartness about the bouquet.  Surprisingly, there isn’t much else to the bouquet.  I really had to search hard to find anything, but perhaps there was some Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Hoots.  The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and ahh, there it is, the chocolate I expected.  It now seems to be brownie-like with a bit of bunt or bittersweet chocolate in the finish.  I will say it’s OK at best, but I prefer chocolate notes that come from non-chocolate brew ingredients.  I’m not into it, and won’t finish it.

Black Art (with apologies to Horace Pippin) Black Premium Beer

I picked up an odd bottle at Binny’s.  http://www.blackartbeer.com/company.html Art Black Premium lager is deep brown and sports a ton of lacey head, although the beer does not appear to be highly carbonated.  Good toasted malty bouquet with a tang to it.  The mouthfeel is a bit thin but smooth, with a chocolatey quality to it.  I’d call it OK overall, but a little lack luster.  Richer and thicker would help this beer a lot.

Stockyard: bad name, decent beer

The Chicago Stockyards stir up romantic visions of underpaid, overworked immigrants, noise, stench…so what better image to connect with a beer.  Maybe to an out-of-towner, it gives them a connection to Chicago history.  I don’t know.  Looking past Stockyard Oatmeal Stout’s bad name, this turns out to be a decent beer.  Made by Goose Island under the Stockyard Brewing Company monicker (kind of like Jagger-Richards songs being credited to Nanker-Phelge), the oatmeal stout pours black with a hint of red and produces a nice tan head.  I find a little chocolate, some coffee and some smokiness in the bouquet.  It has a nice taste, which starts a bit sharp, but the smoke and hops feel good in the mouth.  It’s a bit thin for my money, at least to be called stout, but it doesn’t detract from the experience.  Would that be more like a porter then?  The aftertaste is coffeelike, and I’m not sure if that’s so great for my taste, as I don’t drink but one or two cups of coffee a year, but it’s certainly a better beer than I expected, especially as a non-Biersch micro brew from Trader Joe’s.  (See my review of Trinity Red Ale)