The end of the year is fast approaching. Aunt Bessie’s fruitcake is assuming a leaden texture in your stomach, there’s paper cuts on the little one’s fingers from buzzsawing through presents and that John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album’s getting a little less funny each time it plays.
It works out kind of nice that the annual “reset button” is right after the hectic holidays. While we’re here towards the end, let’s wander down to the end of the alphabet and see what Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is like.
Well’s and Young’s Brewery has been around for its fair share of Christmases and New Years. Established in 1875 when founder Charles Wells returned from the Navy and bought a brewery plus 32 pubs in an auction, the company merged with fellow British brewers Young’s in 2006. Combined, they’re responsible for some of England’s best beers; 14 of their own and 4 contract brews for big names like Red Stripe.
Chocolate stout is so-named due to the inclusion of chocolate malt with the grains, but a handful of breweries, such as Young’s, actually mixes in dark chocolate to the wort. Think of this ale as the perfect dessert after the over-indulgence of the holidays. Despite being a stout, its texture is light and won’t weigh down the drinker’s palate. The fact that it’s loaded with chocolate means it’s a crowd-pleaser and dangerously drinkable. Relatively low alcohol content – 5.2% — won’t inflict too much damage on a brain probably already banged around from Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.
If your tavern of choice has this on tap or in those neat 16oz widget cans, the nitrogen delivery ensures a pure silk texture with minimal fizz to interfere. Like any great stout poured with nitrogen, there’s that seductive, hypnotic cascade as the head settles into a sharp contrast of tan/white foam above the night-dark beer. Of course chocolate dominates the nose and flavor with Godiva-like quality but light touches of coffee and dark bread scents are noticeable along with cappuccino and hints of vanilla on the tongue.