Written by Ken Carman
I bought The Great Chocolate Wreck by Good Nature Brewing, out of Hamilton, NY, with the intent of doing a PGA profile and to serve at my beer tasting in Beaver River I do every Labor Day weekend. So I had two champagne bottles. The first was interesting: a complex quaff with a little roasted barley to define the style (RIS), tons of malt, I suspect, of various types on the roast scale and tons of tons of chocolate, including the sensations of cocoa nibs, milk, bakers, dark… every chocolate known to humankind. Just a hint of over the top ABV.
Staying at my sister-in-law’s in Johnstown, NY, I decided I knew the quaff well enough that I could offer her some and then write the review on the fly. How wrong I was. This time the chocolate sense was over the top cocoa nibs, too much roasted barley and the other wreck story related chocolates hiding behind all that. ABV almost higher alcohol-ish.
What the hell?
Well, before I go on with the big story: mini-tale. The story is in the 1800s, I think it was, there was a train wreck near Hamilton, NY, and one of two trains colliding was filled to the brim with chocolate. Hence the name.
I figured that either I had two different batches: bad news for Good Nature and consistency, or: probably more likely, one had been sitting too long in the store and did not age well. Poor storage, perhaps? I did buy it at a store in Ithaca noted for less than optimal conditions, occasionally: no names mentioned. Possible the condition of my palate had varied contributed to all this, though not sure why.
Well I happened to have a small bottle left of Victory Kirsch Gose, a lovely, tart, quaff, and Millie and I had had a delisch mix of Young’s Double Chocolate with Lindeman’s Kriek at The Blue Bonnet Homebrew Competition in Dallas many moons ago, so… what the hell.
Incredible. I highly recommend.
I could drag out my BJCP guidelines to see how Gose tis the Gose, but I’m not going to do that. I already knew it’s too good, too unique, to get all style anal-ish. Kirsch stands on its own, regardless of any style differences. The cherry provides just the right tart for the light malt quaff. Combined with Wreck it’s like the Bonnet mix, only more complex, subtle, yet in your face. Lindeman’s, in comparison, is like the Belgian Bud, not Budvar, of truly traditional Pils. There are so many better Belgian brewers, IMO. And Wreck, despite one bottle’s faults, is Youngs on a triple dose of steroids.
So I can’t recommend the Wreck, yet. But the combination? Oh, yeah. Mix to taste.
A Beer-y Good Story is a column by Ken Carman: BJCP judge, author of several columns an beer and Inspection, on social, political and religious issues first published in 1972. A Beer-y Good Story goes where beer reviews don’t: history and perception of a brand being reviewed, as well as personal anecdotes.
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