The Beer Box

Is chocolate the new coffee? Seems like it, with foodies discovering more and more obscure micro- makers, chocolate tastings popping up all over (see this week's Sips column), and every Valentine's Day expert coming out of the woodwork to advise you on what brand to match with what fruit, what wine, what beer. Beer? Yes, it's come to that. And now we have Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, which is not only supposed to go with chocolate, it's actually "aged on a bed of fine Scharffen Berger chocolate." Since chocolate wasn't soluble in water the last time we noticed, it's hard to say what impact the bed had on the beer's aging. What's certain is that this brew—dry but round-flavored, smooth and toasty-flavored—is beer that even people who don't much like beer rave about. Never mind breaking out the chocolate to eat with it; Chocolate Bock is too good to act as background to any other flavor. As it should be, at about $15 for a 750ml. bottle. Sip it as an aperitif, like fine sherry.

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