People often pull a face when I mention chocolate beer. I suppose it's two flavours that don't immediately spring to mind as going well together. I've tried plenty of beverages with chocolate malt in them now, such as stouts and porters, which I believe make for perfect liquid puddings. When Cinabar mentioned this offering for Father's Day from Hotel Chocolat as a pale chocolate beer I initially pulled a face. I just thought that pale malt and chocolate malt would be a wrong mix of flavours. Fortunately perhaps so did the Brewers at Brewshed in Bury St. Edmonds for this is a pale beer with cocoa pulp infused in the making. No chocolate malt here as far as I can tell, just pale malt mixed with a blend of American Mosaic and Citra hops, and finally the cocoa pulp infusion.
On opening there was a citrus smell to this darkish pale ale, and a cheerful fizz as it poured into my waiting beer mug. In the taste there is a complex blend of flavours. First the instant pale malt flavour I adore so much followed by a cheeky citrus fruity flavour from the bitter hops and notes of sweetness as the hops crash into a wall of what can only be described as a strong expertly crafted ale. The cocoa pulp gives this beer a warming strength, with a chocolate cocoa ale flavour washing around my mouth in the aftertaste. At 4.9% volume this 500ml bottle punches with pale fruity bitterness then smooths away the senses with chocolate velvety overtones. Not entirely a pudding beer, simply a real treat to be savoured whenever. Too good for Dad, this bottle is all mine!