The Beer: Choklat
The Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company
The Skinny: 10 percent ABV; part of the Blackwater Series of beers
Southern Tier of Lakewood, New York, is known for its wide array of beers, but it's the brewery's Blackwater Series that steals the limelight. Southern Tier is neither timid nor concerned with tradition — the brewery's only concern is to provide its fans with flavor — and as much of it as possible. Choklat has been called many things, and one thing is certain: This is exactly what a milk chocolate candy bar would taste like if it were in a glass. This may not be the beer for traditionalists, but it may be the perfect hard-to-find beer for people who claim not to like beer. Popular beer rating website Rate Beer gave Choklat a perfect score of 100 and that's probably because 110 was simply not an option.
Aroma: Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. There's also some light roast character present. Some sweet candy-like scents persist in the aromatic stage. Soothing pleasant alcohol warmth is present, which adds balance; but this beer is all about the chocolate.
Flavor: According to Southern Tier's website, the beer is brewed with Belgian chocolate, which is exactly what it tastes like. It's somewhere between milk and dark chocolate, and these flavors are dominant, supported by roasty notes and subtle notes of caramel and toffee. Rich flavors definitely abound starting out strong on the front end while finishing sweet but with a dark chocolate dryness that's very pleasant on the palate.
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Look & Feel: Choklat is jet black in color with deep dark red/garnet notes when held to the light. It has a tan head that persists indefinitely. It's full bodied, rich, creamy, and frothy as a milkshake. Lingering sweetness helps the chocolate and sweet alcohol flavors persist long into the finish.
Overall Impression: Chocolate sensory overload in a good way. This is no "balanced" beer, per se. This is a liquid chocolate candy bar, fermented, and put into a bottle. Choklat checks in at an abundant ten percent alcohol, and it's definitely well hidden among the other more dominant flavors. The beer is very drinkable and incredibly enjoyable despite its high alcohol content. Even though it is incredibly rich on the front of the palate, it finishes relatively dry in flavor and mouthfeel, and definitely leaves the consumer wanting more.
About The Brewery: Southern Tier was founded by Brewmaster Phin DeMink in 2002. Southern Tier's Blackwater Series of beers are fairly new to the Arizona market. After taking the Midwest and Northeast by storm, the beers have been made available to the west, much to the delight of fans everywhere. The beers are bold and filled with attitude, like a prize fighter in a heavyweight battle. Choklat is, in its own right, a heavyweight itself, and best enjoyed on a cold day in a warm chair by a fireplace. Released every November, fans can enjoy this winter seasonal while it's still available through the cold winter months.
For more information on Southern Tier and any of its beers, including Choklat, please visit the Southern Tier website. Choklat is available in 22-ounce bombers and four-packs at some of the finer craft beer shops around Phoenix; this one was purchased at Desert Ridge Chevron in Gilbert.