Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Sips: Samuel Adams the Vixen, Chocolate Chili Bock

I absolutely love this beer. Too bad it was a small batch that may or may not be available in the future. Samuel Adams, the biggest craft brewery in the United States and one of the pioneers of the American craft beer movement, recently launched their Small Batch Series of limited run beers. Of the four initial beers in this series, this one is the most offbeat and, in my opinion, the best.

And yes, you read the name right. This is a chocolate chili bock made with chilies, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon.

You might see "cinnamon" and "chili peppers" and think this beer will be a spicy mess, but think again. Both are here only just enough to counter the gooey sweetness of the chocolate. Stick your nose in the glass -- a wine glass is good for this beer -- and you'll think it's dessert. The spicy additions, however, blend nicely with the chocolate and counter the sweetness.

What impresses me is how well balanced the various elements are. The cocoa/chocolate is perfectly complemented by the chili and cinnamon. None of the three take over, which is, in my opinion, what makes it so good. Nothing here screams "CHOCOLATE BEER!" or "CHILI BEER!" Nothing extreme, just a good blend of flavors. I like a great chocolate beer (Southern Tier's Choklat, for example) and enjoy a nice chili/pepper beer (I've recently enjoyed Left Hand's Pepper Porter and Stone's outstanding 11.11.11), but it's the fine balance between the two that makes this one work.

Highly recommended. If you see it on the shelves, give it a try.

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