REVIEW: Boulevard Chocolate Ale might be the perfect Valentine’s Day beer

Photo: Brian Sorensen

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and if you’re a beer drinker you will most likely feel like a duck out of water with all the bottles of wine being uncorked around you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale serves as a malty alternative to the traditional vino.

Chocolate Ale is perhaps Boulevard’s most popular beer. It sold so quickly in Kansas City last year that residents ventured down to Northwest Arkansas to find a few bottles. Those bottles reportedly commanded a pretty penny on the KC secondary market.

Fortunately Boulevard recognized the demand and increased production by 10% this year. As a result Chocolate Ale can be found in abundance throughout the region. It’s available in 750ml bottles for around $13 – which sounds expensive, but at 9.1% ABV is really not a bad deal.

The beer itself pours amber in color with a fruity nose. This will surprise you if you’re expecting a traditional chocolate stout. There is a time and a place for the deep, dark colors and roasty flavors of a stout. But Boulevard’s take on chocolate involves a higher ratio of caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes.

While this is a lighter take on a chocolate beer, the alcohol content is considerable and worth keeping in mind. The flavors are expertly layered and multi-faceted, so it’s easy to lose sight of the beer’s intoxicating power.

If you’re looking for a chocolate bomb, Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale may not get it done for you. But if you’re looking for something subtle – and somewhat provocative in its approach to the style – it might be the perfect Valentine’s Day beer for you and your sweetie.

Brian Sorensen (@EBSorensen) is an admitted beer geek, occasional home brewer, and member of the Fayetteville Lovers of Pure Suds.