How About a Little Chocolate in Your Beer?

From the label design to the chocolatey tones of the beer inside the bottle, Chocolate Shake Porter from Boulder Beer is a fun beer. And, yes, it does taste like a beery chocolate shake. It’s not a crazy concept because you can’t make a chocolate malted milk shake without malted barley.

I made the mistake of having my first bottle right out of the fridge. This beer is best served as close to room temperature as possible to allow the chocolatey depths to bloom.

One of the five grains used to brew this chocolate porter is described as Chocolate Wheat, which is a variety unknown to me. I had to look it up. It’s highly kilned wheat malt that is processed just like highly kilned barley malt to produce the dark color and roasty-toastiness. Cacao nibs are also used to help create the delicious chocolate flavor of this porter. This is a great holiday beer.

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It had to be 2002 or so when I tasted my first gluten-free beer. It was an early entry in an area that has really grown since then.

Most of us have no concern about gluten-free beer. I admit to being of that ilk. It took a personal encounter with a beer-loving celiac disease sufferer to get me to sample gluten-free beers, just as it took a letter from the wife of a man recovering from a brain aneurysm to get me to sample alcohol-free beers (the man loved dark beer, and the wife wanted to know if I knew of any alcohol-free dark beers – at the time, I did not. But I soon found a really good German dark NA beer, and both the man and his wife were most grateful).

The gluten-free beer was more problematic. I wanted to like them for the sake of those beer-loving folks with gluten intolerance, but I have to admit there seemed to be something seriously absent in those I tried. Most of those early attempts used sorghum in place of barley, and there was obviously a depth of character that sorghum did not possess.

And then I finally tried an Omission Pale Ale, brewed at the Widmer Brewing Co., Portlandia. This is a gluten-free beer brewed with barley that has had gluten removed, hence the name.

It has character and body that is absent from other gluten-free beers I’ve tried. It has a beautiful and resilient head that clings to the glass to the very bottom.

Best yet, it tasted like a pale ale and not some poor man’s substitute for the style. If I suffered from gluten intolerance, I would be very happy to drink Omission. They have several flavors, including a lager. I think if you must drink gluten-free, this is the way to go.