Aug 11, 2017

Alewerks Black Forest

Dessert beers are nothing new. Brewer’ efforts to re-create the flavors of their favorite, after-dinner treat in the form of a big brew has produced mixed results through the years. Thankfully, Virginia’s Alewerks Brewing have themselves one hell of a beer in Black Forest. This imperial stout (9.5% ABV) was brewed with chocolate and Montmorency cherries before heading into former bourbon barrels for a length of time. The result is a beer that smells and tastes exactly like the dessert it’s trying to mimic — like I’m sipping from a glass of bourbon to accompany my healthy slice of German chocolate cake.

The barrel aging presents an outstanding influence upon the base stout as it glides slowly over the tongue. Black Forest is packed with a decadent array of flavors including dark chocolate, rich cherries, coffee, wood, vanilla and a hint of anise. All of those come together in the full-bodied stout to produce an experience that nearly equals that which you encounter with each bite of the dessert from which it draws influence. Toss in a gentle alcohol warmth and Black Forest hits all the marks of what I personally want in a big beer like this.

Alewerks has slowly and relatively quietly becoming one of the better breweries is the Commonwealth. From the annual release of Bitter Valentine (one of my favorite in-state IPAs) to this wonderfully tasty bottle of Black Forest, the company has just impressed over the past couple of years — and to little fanfare. Which I suppose it fine as that means more for me.