Choc one up for Oklahoma

28 Feb

As I noted before, we are spending our time away from it all, in a dry county nonetheless! So, we picked up another sampler pack from a regional brewery. This time from Choc in Krebs, Oklahoma.

If you read our last post you know we didn’t get very lucky with that sampler pack. In fact, a few of the bottles are still in the fridge and we have all been avoiding them. Well, when we opened this sampler pack, our luck didn’t seem to get much better. There were supposed to be six bottles, each a different beer / style. Unfortunately, we were missing the Waving Wheat, their take on the classic Belgian “witbier” and instead received two 1919’s, the original Choc beer, a wheat ale that made the company famous, or infamous, as the box suggests. But that’s where our luck changed. We really enjoyed the Choc box as well as their seasonal stout and the 22’s we picked up of some of their specialty brews. So we are a little bummed we didn’t get to try the Waving Wheat, as everything else we drank showed us that it probably would have been true to style and enjoyable to drink. So, if you see any Choc in your local bottle shop, we suggest you pick some up and give it a try, and let us know how the Waving Wheat tastes.
Here’s what we thought:

Last Laugh: an American white, this beer had a lot of apricot and dried fruit both on the nose and on the palate. There was also a nice spice that hit the tongue from the coriander. I detected just a hint of butter that Michael did not pick up on, so it could have just been my imagination. Not much hop to write about, just enough to keep this beer from being sweet, which was perfect for this style of beer. This was perfect to drink on our first 80° day of the year. It was also refreshing to have a light beer from around here that did not use caramel malt.

1919 Choc: An American wheat beer with no noticeable aroma. This is a light beer with low carbonation and medium-to-light in body. There is a light bitterness upfront and the flavors transition towards the lightest flavors of a farmhouse ale. There is just a bit of that classic mustiness a farmhouse ale has, but it is very light. I’m not sure everyone would even notice, making it very approachable for those not acquainted with that style. This is a great summertime, back porch, drink all evening kind of beer.

Basement Batch: there was no noticeable hop on the nose, so I expected another caramel malt forward beer like most of the other beers we’ve had down here. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This beer had a nice, medium body and a bitterness that integrated well into the ale. Of all the local beer from this trip, this is the best so far – I can actually taste the hop!

Pietro Piegari: an amber, named after the original owner, this beer had a very light, sweet biscuit nose. As expected, the malts came through immediately. There was lightly roasted, biscuity malt, as well as the slightest hint of caramel malt. This was matched nicely with just enough bitter hop to balance this beer. The beer also finished with a dry crispness – a nice contrast to my initial impressions from the aroma.

Miner Mishap:  a black lager that poured very dark and offered a light roast nose. This beer carried substantial roast flavors, similar to a stout, but was light in body (without being too thin…yay), matching the lager characteristics. There was a slight sweetness and bitterness that made this beer more complex, balanced, and enjoyable to drink. Michael felt it was a bit bright for a lager, thinking it better matched the style of a brown ale. Regardless, everyone enjoyed this beer.

Winter Stout: this is a seasonal offering from Choc, and to simplify the review, this is a very good stout! The pale was nice, as was the Miner Mishap, but this was the best of the Choc beer. True to style, it was smooth, rich and delicious with our king cake. This was not part of the sampler pack but we did not get the Waving Wheat for some reason and bought this as a replacement. We were glad we did. Side note: in Arkansas, 12oz beer must be sold in 6-packs, so good thing it was good!

Signature Smoked Porter: We also picked up a few 22oz bottles, and one of them happened to be from Choc. It was from their Signature series, which is a homebrew competition, with the winner getting to brew their beer in collaboration with Choc and have it distributed under their label. We had grabbed a lot of goldens, belgians, and lagers, so I was really interested in a local porter. I’m glad I did, as it was very unique and it garnered the strongest reactions around the table.

It poured dark and creamy with a powerful, hickory-smoked bacon aroma. There were plenty of caramel and chocolate malts to keep the smokiness  from becoming overbearing, and there was a meatiness and earthiness from the body and the hop, respectively, that gave this beer additional complexity and balance. There was also enough hop bitterness and dryness at the end to make it remarkably drinkable. I am often put off by smoky beers, they are too overpowering and the beer gets lost. The smoke in this beer was not subtle by any means, but the execution of this beer enabled me to enjoy my entire glass.  And the lingering smoke and bacon flavors let me savor this beer long after the last drop was gone.


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