Some call it second Christmas. The Boulevard Brewing Company is set to release Chocolate Ale — their collaboration with chocolatier Christopher Elbow — next week. This marks the fourth release of the chocolate brew (originally slated to be a one-time collaboration) that has created a frenzy locally through a mix of hype and the two parties involved. [To see a video of Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels discussing their collaboration, click here]
“In 2014 and 2015, we brewed the maximum amount of Chocolate Ale we could without interfering with production of our other year round and seasonal beers,” Boulevard brewer Jeremy Danner explained in a blog post announcing the release. “As with any beer we brew, it is not our intention to hype a release to the point where demand exceeds supply.”
The fervor for the Smokestack Series beer made with cocoa nibs has caused some headaches for the brewery in years past. The demand caught Boulevard off guard in 2011, as the search for a 750mL bottle became akin to finding the ‘it’ Christmas toy. In the second year, Boulevard recalled several bottles because of off flavors and last year’s release was briefly delayed by a winter storm.
The forecast looks clear currently. Chocolate Ale will start appearing on taps, Monday, February 2. Deliveries of the bottled brew begin the next day. If you’re wondering about what to eat with your Chocolate Ale, Pauwels and Elbow recommended Mexican and barbecue — something with a bit of heat to match the spice in the beer.