I’d Tap That: Dark chocolate, honey and chilies round out this decadent beer called Theobroma
Glassware: Theobroma has a variety of flavors and aromas and is best enjoyed at a slightly warmer temperature to fully unlock all of these nuances. Glassware that allows the beer to warm slowly while trapping the alluring aroma is best suited for the beer. A snifter glass is highly recommended however a tulip or oversize wine glass will also work well.
Description: Theobroma pours a slightly hazy golden amber hue with a wispy white head that leaves no lacing on the glass. The aroma is surprising if you did not know that this beer contains chocolate as there is no giveaway to that ingredient based upon the color. There is a big hit of dark chocolate up front with chilies and honey rounding out the aroma. The taste follows the nose but opens up much more as it hits the palate. The chocolate is again dominant but is quickly balanced from the chilies offering a wonderfully sweet and spicy playfulness and again honey rounds out the flavors. The medium body and moderate carbonation really aid in imparting this beer’s smooth body and acts as the perfect vessel for delivering these unique flavors. Dogfish Head has never been afraid of taking risks and making unique beers and Theobroma is a big payoff for them in both the unique and delicious categories.
Food Pairing: The flavor combinations within Theobroma make it a very interesting accompaniment to many dishes. Hearty roasted meats, specifically chicken, are perfect with this beer. The spicy chills add a flavor depth to the dish while the sweet chocolate and honey act as a glaze and sink their teeth into the natural sweetness of the chicken and enhance the natural caramelization from the roasting process. During the winter months few things are better to enjoy than rich hearty stews and Theobroma is perfect with them. The subtle spices from the stew are enhanced when paired with the beer and the sweet honey truly shines through and the chocolate flavors are the perfect match for the rich iron found in red meat. This is also a phenomenal dessert beer and goes perfect with cheesecake, ice cream, chocolate cake and crème brûlée. No matter what foods you enjoy, Theobroma will add a wonderful flavor profile to it.
The Final Word: The story behind this beer is just as unique as the beer itself. It is part of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale series and is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras that revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1,200 B.C. Using this data the brewery decided to brew Theobroma, which translates to “Food of the Gods,” with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). It is an extremely enjoyable beer despite it’s long history as far as recipe formulation goes. It proves people have known for a long time how to make and enjoy great beer!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
Style: Chili Beer
ABV: 9 %