November 26, 2008

Chocolate Surprise

I ran into a Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company) representative at the liquor store yesterday. Apparently, the local radio station was doing its afternoon show from Yankee Spirits in Swansea (they were striking the audio equipment when I walked through the door) as a promotional event.

I usually avoid the free sample people at the liquor store because I feel strange tasting free liquor samples in public. My taste buds don't work right standing awkwardly in a store aisle with a company rep and other customers watching me. So I didn't notice that he was from Sam Adams, or that he had Chocolate Bock. But I overheard him talking about one of their seasonal offerings, and came around the corner to see a bottle of my beloved bock.

A couple was pondering which of the winter beers they'd like to taste, and he was chatting them up. At the first break in the conversation, as they were staring at the bottles, I broke in.

"When is the Chocolate Bock available?" I asked.

"Right now," he said. "I've got all ten bottles in the store right here. Fifteen dollars each."

"Oh, good. I'm prepared to take all ten." The couple looked put out that I was interrupting their tasting. See? It's awkward.

The rep recovered from a momentary surprise and told me that they were only selling one to a customer. I explained to him my predicament, being down to only a handful of bottles, and asked him how I could get a case.

"I work for the company, and even I don't have a case," he explained. I assure you, this isn't going to stop me. "I guess you could go from store to store."

"I'll take the one, then," I replied, and he handed me a bottle-opener ornament along with my bottle of Bock.

I allowed the couple to return to their beer-tasting dilemma, and recommended to them the Old Fezziwig, if they had hearty taste buds. Otherwise, the Winter Lager is tasty. The woman mentioned Oktoberfest, and I told her she needed to try the Doppelbock (Sam Adams Double Bock) which the rep called a "secret seasonal." He was dubious of my recommending the double bock to the lady, and I explained that it's because she liked apparently malty beers. He referred to it as "boozy." I told him that I saw that as a good thing. then I wandered off, having made enough of a nuisance of myself.

Two rumors:

  • Doppelbock may become a year-round offering
  • Chocolate Bock may become a semi-annual biennial offering, alternating every-other-year with Utopias. I never tried Utopias because, well check out the prices on eBay. I think the prices started at $100 and kept going up.
Posted by James at November 26, 2008 8:16 AM
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Don't let him tell you what to do. We're all on a mission, and that mission is to purchase a as much Chocolate Bock as possible. If the apocalypse comes, I need only Chocolate Bock.

Additionally, I've had 1 oz of Utopia at Sunset Tap & Grille in Allston. It was about 10 dollars. If you want 5 oz, though, the price goes up significantly from 10/oz to about 15/oz. It tastes like brandy-heaven.

Posted by: Derek at November 26, 2008 9:11 AM

Yikes on those Utopias.

I don't remember whether I've had doppelbock or not, but I'm disappointed by the rep's attitude (malty brews are "boozy"? Women don't like tasty things?) and I'm glad you made a nuisance of yourself. :-) Sounds like the guy doesn't know how to evangelize his own product. Perhaps he should seek a job with Anheuser-Busch.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2008 10:00 AM

I have to go to Douglas today (yes, I HAVE to, it is an obligation). I'll see what they have.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2008 10:01 AM

I have no doubt that Utopia is wonderful stuff, but I'm with you, James; the price is fairly ludicrous.

Seems like you may actually know more than the supposed beer expert - I know he's a salesman pretending to be an expert, but still.

And to get nitpicky, WTF boozy? Dopplebock behaves in a sottish manner?

Posted by: Bull at November 26, 2008 10:16 AM

I called Douglas -- no Chocolate Bock there. I bought 2 more bottles over at Cardoza's in Fairhaven, though. I couldn't bring myself to buy up all three bottles they had on the shelf. It seemed greedy.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 10:43 AM

There was a good supply of Chocolate Bock at the store the other day, but I ended up coming home with Anchor Christmas and Oaked Arrogant Bastard.

I take it you recommend I go back and get at least on Chocolate Bock to try?

Posted by: Jim at November 26, 2008 10:48 AM

I'm sure the folks at Cardoza's wouldn't have minded you being greedy.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2008 11:19 AM

I've added a picture of the opener the guy gave me. Nice guy, cool opener. Not the most ergonomic, but I like the fireplace theme.

Plus, a bottle opener disguised as a Christmas ornament is a great idea.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 11:44 AM

semi-annual => every half year (ie, six months).
bi-annual => every two years.

Posted by: njkayaker at November 26, 2008 4:53 PM

Thanks for noting that.

I didn't use "biannual" because I remembered it is an ambiguous term which can mean either twice/year or every two years.

The correct and unambiguous term is "biennial." I've made the fix.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 5:30 PM

Julie had the fellow at Douglas in Fairhaven hold three bottles for me. Apparently they just got some in, or I got some bad info.

Thanks, Julie! I went to pick up the bottles and the guy was very nice, and a fellow hearty beer enthusiast. He recommended I check out Chocolate Bock on tap at New Bedford's "Pour Farm." And also that we give Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout -- also on tap at Pour Farm.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 5:33 PM

Stone Brewing has a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Chocolate Bastard? Are you kidding me? I'll take it. I don't know how good it is, and the label doesn't describe it as particularly arrogant, but I'm usually happy with the bastard's work.

I also bought a bottle of Double Bastard Ale, thinking it said Double Bock (since I wasn't sure if I'd had double bock or not). Oops. Ha, like I need an excuse to buy more Bastard. I'm such a sucker. They could probably sell me "Bastard Piss" if the essay on the back of the bottle was arrogant enough.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2008 5:38 PM

Double Bastard?

Isn't that the huge bottle?

I read the label, but it wasn't descriptive enough to prompt me to lay the cash down. I enjoy hoppy beers, but if it's double the hops of Arrogant Bastard, I'd probably prefer a more balanced brew.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 6:54 PM

"The correct and unambiguous term is "biennial." I've made the fix."

Even better.

Re "biannual" (and bimonthly), I suppose a "bicycle" is really a unicycle!

Posted by: njkayaker at November 26, 2008 7:06 PM

The fancy Bastards only ever come in the big bottles (as far as I know). I wouldn't call them huge. They're the same size as the Chocolate Bock bottle.

Those Bastard labels are very wordy, with very tiny letters. I hardly ever read the whole thing.

Oaked Bastard is still my favorite, but my hands were full and I had a lot more shopping to do. I thought I'd better quit while I was ahead.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2008 8:25 PM

Julie - Double Bastard is a knock-you-on-your-ass barleywine-style ale. The Stone Brewery Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is feh-king awesome.

Drink plenty of both.

Posted by: Bull at November 26, 2008 9:07 PM

Julie - interestingly enough the local store only had Oaked Arrogant Bastard in a 6-pack. They don't usually have regular Bastard in a 6.

Posted by: Jim at November 26, 2008 9:12 PM

Ah. I've only seen the double in the giant 3-litre bottle with the padlock on it.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 9:31 PM

This is the giant bottle that I saw:

http://flickr.com/photos/tzakiel/340157937/

It was just under $60.

If it's a barleywine, I'm more interested.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 9:34 PM

Sorry...official term used by beer advocate is an American Strong Ale.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/147/1056

Whatevs. It's awesome.

Posted by: Bull at November 26, 2008 11:47 PM

So... thirsty.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2008 11:52 PM

Wow. That is a big damn bottle. No, this is not nearly so grand.

You know what Jim - I am pretty sure that I've seen Oaked and regular Arrogants in both 12 oz and the bigger size, but I don't often see both sizes in the same store at the same time.

Posted by: Julie at November 27, 2008 12:56 AM

I love malty beers. Perhaps, as you suggested, this gentleman might be happier in another job...

Mmm...beer...once my post-Thanksgiving tum decreases a bit, I'll have a snacky snack of--what else?--more turkey and a fine beer from my collection.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 27, 2008 5:11 PM

Four bottles of Chocolate Bock found and bought at my local packie...yippeeeee!!!!

And another bottle of lambic - framboise this time.

Posted by: Bull at November 28, 2008 5:28 PM

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