These days, there are just so many beers on the shelves every time I hit the local liquor store that even I can’t keep up with them all (and believe me, I try my best). I buy a lot more singles than I used to these days just to keep up on the beer world, but even then I might pass one by. That happened with Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter-I saw the beer at Total Wine but, for one reason or another, I passed on it.
Soon after I did, though, I heard some good things about it on that premier Facebook beer discussion group, Honest Craft Beer Reviews. Then, coincidentally enough, I happened to notice that Boulder Shake was available on draft at Taco Mac around the corner from me-and on a nitro pour as well. Draft Guinness Stout is the most common beer you’ll find on a nitro pour.
Nitro pour-short for nitrogen pour-is really just a blend of nitrogen with the usual carbon dioxide that draft beer is primed with. The nitrogen gas is infused into your beer, and it makes it richer tasting with a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.
From the label:
Our twist on the traditional robust American Porter, Shake Chocolate Porter is dark black in color with rich, dark chocolate aromatics and flavors and subtle coffee-like notes. This unique brew blends five different grains, including Chocolate Wheat, that along with cacao nibs create a devilishly delicious chocolate finish with a velvety mouthfeel.
A little on chocolate wheat. Before you get too excited, no, there aren’t wheat fields out there dedicated to growing chocolate. Chocolate wheat, then, is really just wheat that undergoes a roasting process similar to roasted barley or chocolate malt.
Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter has an alcohol content of 5.9% by volume and 39 IBUs. I had it on draft as I said and later in the bottle. My bottle had a best by date of Jan282014, and I drank it on 2/22/2014. It was no worse for the wear. I paid $6.50 for a mug at Taco Mac and it runs $8.99 a six-pack in bottles.
Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter on nitro pour. The beer arrived a beautiful jet black color with a good sized, very creamy head of tightly packed bubbles. The nose is rich bittersweet chocolaty, and taking a sip I immediately get the smooth creamy body from the nitrogen, dark bittersweet baker's chocolate in the palate, and dark roasted barley. Finishes very chocolaty and bitter in a roasty dark chocolate way. I love it!
In the bottle: Enjoying this one again! Not as good as it was on nitro-lacks the creaminess that made it so much like a milk shake that way. But still loving the smell of fresh hulled roasted barley in the nose, the dark bittersweet chocolate in the palate, the roasty bitterness in the finish. In both cases there is a gentle suggestion of grassy hop aroma.
I loved this beer both ways, but will have to tell you the nitrogen pour really was the icing on the cake. It added the extra smooth creaminess that a real shake would offer, and really completed the experience. As chocolate beers go, this one is worth fighting over. I’d give it a full 5 stars on the nitro pour and 4 ½ in the bottle, but since most people will enjoy it in bottles, I’ll rate 4 ½ overall.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.