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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Day 40 Drink: Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout

Foothills Brewing brewmaster and co-owner Jamie Bartholomaus originally conceived Sexual Chocolate in 1996 as a special homebrewed beer to celebrate Valentine's Day. A decade later the beer was produced commercially for the first time and word quickly spread. To brew the beer Bartholomaus uses cocoa nibs that are cold infused in the stout after fermentation and during conditioning.

The beer’s name is a semi-obscure reference to the 1988 movie “Coming to America” that starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. In the comedy a fictional band named Sexual Chocolate performs the song “Greatest Love of All” at a church sponsored event. Sexual Chocolate has become Foothills most sought after beer. The company does a limited bottling of the beer and releases it once each year at the Foothills brewpub where people line up to get a bottle or two.

Tonight I was at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte for a vertical tasting of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages of this rare brew and had a chance to talk with Bartholomaus about the beers. Sexual Chocolate is one of the brews I covered in the soon-to-be-released book "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die." The tasting proved that beers like Sexual Chocolate not only age gracefully, they can expand and take on new qualities.

Each Sexual Chocolate vintage delivers a beer with a thick black pour that does not permit light to pass. The chocolate aroma is present and rich roasted flavors blend throughout the big beer. From there each beer is different.

Sexual Chocolate 2008: Peruvian cocoa nibs are used in brewing this beer. It has a fruity nose and a moderate cappuccino colored head. The cocoa lingers nicely in the finish of this brew and gives it a depth of character.

Sexual Chocolate 2009: Cocoa from Ecuador is used in this beer. There is more of a creamy thick head on this vintage and a sweeter chocolate base. Nice roasted notes with cocoa, coffee and toffee combining.

Sexual Chocolate 2010: The chocolate in this beer is sourced from Ecuador and Papua New Guinea. This brew has a thinner head and a slightly lighter mouthfeel. Nice dark chocolate notes and some dark skin fruitiness.

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