Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Taste Test

Help name Big Storm’s new toffee chocolate stout, made with William Dean

Collaborations between brewers are not new. Nor are collaborations between brewers and distillers. Or beer brewers and coffee brewers. It makes sense: Use a barrel for one thing, then it in turn imparts interesting flavors to the next thing thatís aged in it. Sometimes the same barrel has been known to go back and forth ó a spirit infusing a beer, and then vice versa. But hereís something that seems all new.

Big Storm Brewing in Clearwater approached Bill Brown, the owner and chief chocolatier at the justly famous William Dean Chocolates in Belleair Bluffs. What if the two companies teamed up to make a chocolate-inflected specialty beer? Bill Brown, not a huge beer drinker, was intrigued. And then, he thought, what if I produce chocolates that are infused with Big Storm Brewing beers?

Cross marketing, mutual back-scratching or a tasty quid pro quo ó call it what you will, but itís a great idea. Big Storm released the beer, a toffee chocolate stout, on Oct. 28, World Chocolate Day. It pours black with a creamy head, deep garnet highlights giving it an appealing jewel-like luster. The nose is toasty caramelized sugar, sweet toffee and a just-bitter chocolatiness lingering on the finish.

This is not for shrinking violets, 7.4 percent alcohol by volume bottled in 650 ml bottles. But wait, whatís the beer called? Right now the label shows Big Storm and William Deanís logos, between which is a blank black box. A blank you could help fill. Through Monday, beer lovers, or just those with a savvy product marketing sense, can submit name suggestions at [email protected] On Nov. 16, the winning name will be chosen at a VIP event at the brewery with a Q&A with Brown and Big Storm head brewer Joel Moore.

Brown, for his part, will be talking about his beer-infused chocolates. The company that made the chocolates featured lavishly in the Hunger Games movies is now producing chocolate macarons filled with a buttercream made from a reduction of Big Stormís American stout, not too sweet, crumbly with a sumptuous filling, as well as a red chocolate demisphere truffle filled with a caramel made with Big Stormís award-winning Tropic Pressure Florida Ale and another pyramid-shaped milk chocolate truffle with a ganache made with Big Stormís American stout.

Thatís a sweet collaboration. Oh, and the person who names the beer receives a private Big Storm Brewery tour, a tap handle for the new beer, a 20-piece box of William Dean chocolates and a supply of the new Big Storm-William Dean beer.

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Comments
Taste test: New snacks from Klondike, Quaker, Planters and Layís

Taste test: New snacks from Klondike, Quaker, Planters and Layís

Every parent knows the need to stock up the snack cupboard when their children are around for the summer. I am not sure whether they get hungrier in the hot weather or just bored. But judges said their children always want something to eat when they ...
Published: 07/16/18
Taste test: Storebought sugar cones for ice cream

Taste test: Storebought sugar cones for ice cream

Whenever we talk about summertime memories, our panelists always end their stories with ice cream. Making our own cones was a big treat in my youth, and our tasters have similar experiences. This week, we asked them to taste some of the sugar cones o...
Updated one month ago
Taste test: Frozen cod fillets

Taste test: Frozen cod fillets

Growing up, we knew what was for dinner by checking the kitchen sink after school to see what was in there thawing. Aside from the potential health concerns of thawing entrees at room temperature, dinner always required preplanning. Thankfully, we ha...
Updated one month ago

Taste test: Midyear wrapup of our top 2018 picks so far

This summer marks 14 years since we started the Tasterís Choice column. With each passing year, I try harder to look for healthier food options and dietary trends impacting our families. But processed and convenience foods still fly off grocery store...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 07/09/18