Trick or treat

What do you mean, I’m a couple of weeks too late?

Okay, so Halloween may have come and gone, but the title sums up my trepidation when approaching a bottle of Chocolate Lager from the Hogs Back Brewery. I mean, chocolate lager? That’s never going to work.

You quite often get chocolate flavours in beer, but they are normally the bitter notes of a dark chocolate adding an extra dimension to the overall flavour. It is not so common, at least in my drinking experience, to find a beer that actually tastes of milk chocolate; and a nice milk chocolate at that. Particularly not when it also tastes like lager. So what’s going on here?

The Hogs Back Brewery have teemed up with Montezuma’s Chocolate to bring us this beer and you can definitely taste the top-notch chocolate that goes into this brew. This is no advent calendar cheap chocolate. This stuff tastes nice. Seeing as I would choose many, many other types of beer before opting for a lager under most circumstances, and seeing as I am normally more of a dark chocolate man than a milk chocolate man, this is not an obvious combination for me to get excited about. But my considered opinion is that this is more than the sum of its parts.

Which poorly chosen turn of phrase reminds me of my resolution not to fall back on the old cliche stand-bys, and offers a chance to consider this beer under the yet-to-find-mainstream-acceptance beer reviewing style I have come to call Guess Brew. What would this beer be like if you met it in the pub?

The best to place to start is its unexpected quality. You see “chocolate lager” on the bottle and this causes you to jump to some conclusions. This is the person walking into the pub in their tight jeans, slip-on canvas shoes and a t-shirt with a v-neck opening half way down their chest. His hair is something you see on the pitch on Match of the Day, but rarely in real life. You’re thinking, this guy is not my kind of guy. I’m sitting here in a jumper and a pair of sensible shoes; he looks like he should be on TOWIE.

The pub is crowded and he ends up squeezing on to the end of your table while he waits for his mates to arrive. But you’re a nice guy so you start a conversation and you find that, actually, you may have been a little hasty there. Yes, it’s true, you would not go out dressed like that, but you have been, perhaps, a little too quick to judge. He turns out to be good conversation. You talk about family – he has a little one at home and this is a rare night out. Underneath his – slightly odd – exterior is a sweetness and this, you realise, you weren’t expecting. Ultimately, this says more about you than it does about him. His mates arrive and you drink up and head home. You are not going to be best buddies, but you feel better about the world for having had some of your prejudices turned on their head.

What do you think? Have you tried this beer; is this how it would be personified? Am I just losing it and should give up on the whole Guess Brew thing before I start talking to my beers?

Your comments, as always, are most welcome…

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