They key to the taste of this beer is the order of the words, “chocolate” and “cherry.” The chocolate is the dominant flavor and the cherry provides an accent. Unlike some cherry stouts, this one does not taste like cough syrup at all.
Firestone Walker brewmaster Matt Brynildson said, “What sets this beer apart from our past stouts is the inclusion of cherries, which are added during the fermentation process.” It was a no-brainer as a next step for us, because who doesn’t like a dark chocolate and cherry flavor combo?”
“We have a lot of experience in brewing with cocoa nibs as well as making cherry-infused beers at our Barrelworks wild ale cellar—but this is the first time we’ve brought it all together into a single beer,” Brynildson added.
Be sure to let this one warm a little like any other stout so you can properly experience all of the layers of flavor. Stouts tend to release more of their flavor as they warm so an ice cold stout, while it might be refreshing and tasty, is only allowing you to taste part of what it offers. No-one wants to only taste part of their beer, so let it warm up a bit.
So, now that we have that out of the way, what does this beer taste like? In a simple answer, a dark chocolate candy bar with cherries? Yes, but it is more than that. The beer is dry like an Irish stout and offers a playful experience where the chocolate and cherry give you the taste of a decadent candy without the sweetness. This is not a milk stout, it is not a sugary, thick, too sweet beer. It is refreshing, it is delicious and it comes in six packs!
For you “beer nerd” type humans, you are probably looking for the “mouthfeel” and the “aroma,” etc. Well, here you go:
Appearance: Dark brown in color with a thin tan head that slowly fades.
Aroma: Cocoa with a subtle dark cherry overtone. There is also that familiar coffee aroma that comes with the territory of tasting a stout.
Mouthfeel: Dry instead of sweet and since it is not a thick beer, easy to sip on enjoy. The carbonation is pretty standard for a stout, not too “bubbly” but not flat. The lack of over-carbonation also adds to the enjoyment of sipping on this.
Taste: The important factor, haha. As mentioned, the chocolate flavor dominates here with the cherry a subtle accent. As you sip more, the cherry will become more pronounced, but it never overshadows the chocolate, nor does it become sweet. It is entirely possible to simply drink this down and enjoy, but we recommend you take your time and allow this beer to show off what it has to offer.
Rating: Out of 5, we rated this beer a 4.2. We loved the subtle (not cough syrup) cherry, we loved the dryness (not sweet) and we loved the carbonation level (not too fizzy, but not flat). Is there room for improvement? Of course, but overall, we were impressed and will be keeping a six pack or two on hand.
To summarize, this is no pastry stout and it shouldn’t be. This stout is simply what it is… a chocolate stout with some cherry on top and that is exactly what we wanted it to be. We sampled a full six pack of this to ensure that our mood at the time or “affected palate*” at the time didn’t factor into our impression. Each time we drank this, we loved it. Pairing it with the chocolate and cherries for the photo made it even better.
Chocolate Cherry Stout is now available in all Firestone Walker markets in six-pack can and draft formats.
Affected Palate: Sometimes, certain flavors, especially strong ones, can influence the experience of the next flavor tried. To understand this, try biting an onion and then tasting your favorite sweet snack. The tongue is still processing the chemicals in the onion and now those signals sent to the brain are mixed with the new signals from that sweet snack. While not necessarily unpleasant, the taste of the sweet snacks not the same as if you had not bit the onion. Other examples of this are the famous glass of orange juice right after brushing your teeth. We recommend finding something that works for you to “palate cleanse” in between drastically different tastes. Slices of ginger are very good at this and why they are served with sushi.