Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Chocolate Manifesto

Chocoholics take note: The Chocolate Manifesto by Barrie, Ontario's Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery is an over-indulgent blast of big booze and chocolatey splendour. Billed as a triple chocolate milk stout, this jumbo special edition ale combines three types of chocolate: shade-grown cacao nibs, roasted cacao powder, and chocolate malt (which is a stretch, as I don't believe it actually has anything to do with chocolate). Sold as a boxed 750mL bottle, this 10% elixir is clearly meant to be shared--be wary of doing what I did, which was drink the whole bottle myself before dinner on a Saturday afternoon. The box and bottle are both extremely busy, even by the wacky standards of Flying Monkeys, and uncommonly text-heavy. There is definitely some interesting stuff if you take the time to read through though. My three favourite gems are the plea to "Save the earth, it's the only planet with chocolate. And beer."; the exaltation that "Passion is such an important ingredient in craft beer, we should include it on the label."; and the admonition to not "mindlessly praise craft beer. Challenge Brewers to innovate."

On to the beer!

This ale is dark brown, with amber highlights. It pours with a fog warning's worth of loose tan head. It has an extremely sweet, chocotastic aroma. There are milk chocolate elements along with chocolate milk elements. As well, under the sugary exterior, there is a slice of cacao bitterness.

Almost like drinking an alcoholic dark chocolate bar, The Manifesto features a thick, syrupy mouthfeel, and a powerfully sweet, slightly bitter flavour that verges on obscene. At 10% alcohol, you'd expect off-the-charts boozy heat, but it is understated to a deadly level. You only really appreciate the amount of fire in this stuff when you reach out to refill your glass and notice a tremor in your pouring hand.

To me, this beer was more novelty than desirable, but that's not to say it wasn't innovative or well made. It's a formidably strong ale with an unapologetic degree of sweetness and chocolate levels that are off the charts. Seriously, with the amount of cacao in this bad boy, I'm surprised it poured at all. I almost expected to have to scoop it out with a ladle. So, to sum up my thoughts, this is a genuinely unique beer. It doesn't skimp on chocolate and delivers exactly what it promised to deliver. That I didn't love it is more a reflection of my beer preferences than any kind of defect. It does bear pointing out though, that without the oodles of chocolate, I'm not convinced that this is a particularly strong standalone stout.

I would be remiss not to mention that The Chocolate Manifesto was gifted to me by my one-of-a-kind brother, who is a real class act. And he's single, ladies!

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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