6% Chocolate Porter
As the fifth edition of The Critics’ Choice goes off to ‘The Cloud’ for printing (we are releasing it as an E-Book this time round) it seems only fair that we shine the spotlight on the highest-ranking dark beer in the previous four incarnations.
Holgate have been brewing traditional interpretations of classic world beer styles, often inspired by the beer tours as experienced by Head Brewer Paul Holgate and his wife Natasha, since 1999. Back then Paul would pump out small quantities in his shed on weekends after travelling to town for work during the week. Today Holgate has a terrific presence in the township of Woodend through Keating’s Hotel, a proper ‘old school’ pub with food, accommodation and plenty of fine beers on tap, in bottle and pulled skilfully from the handpump.
And to the beer;
“Some beers just won’t take no for an answer. A sultry seducer, this luscious winter warmer infused with Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans takes an old story somewhere new and bewitching. In 2008, we introduced a swing in the hips and gleam in the eye to our classic porter recipe, with the inspired addition of rich cocoa and vanilla to an already robust brew. Together with a blend of seven malts, the result is a complex palate of alluring chocolate, coffee and caramel flavours, balanced by a hint of vanilla. Be tempted!
Softly carbonated and served through traditional Beer Engine at 8-10 Deg C at Holgate Brewhouse, this beer is a perfect accompaniment to meat pies and chocolate-based desserts.”
James ‘The Crafty Pint’ Smith remembers fondly;
“At a beer masterclass at which Holgate’s beers were paired with different food samples, this chocolate porter was served last with some rich chocolate desserts. It drew gasps. “How could a beer have so much chocolate flavour and still taste like beer?” asked the guests. With the addition of plenty of Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans to the boil. Originally introduced as a one-off, the Temptress proved so popular and picked up so many awards that it became part of the brewery’s permanent range. As it warms, it also reveals caramel and coffee notes, making it a rewarding dessert beer or great winter warmer.”
Kirrily Waldhorn (The Beer Diva) says through her Beer Style website;
“Let this temptress play the part she was born for as she lures you in, elbow-length black silk gloves leading you towards the black carpet, its path taking you to your own private heaven. Holgate’s Temptress is an alluring decadence, resistance is futile. It’s ice-skating on a frozen lake at night, with the full moon’s beams shimmering softly on the smooth surface. She whispers softly in your ear, teasing you in your anticipation of the cocoa notes of a slowly melting rich chocolate ice cream, spiced sweetly with vanilla, cocooned in smooth, mousse-like sensory perfection…. Created with love for the dreamy romantics amongst us.”
The Critics’ Choice voting panel (different each year) have unanimously rewarded the beer with a top 10 place. #8, #4, #3 and #4 again.
James Smith back in 2011 demanded answers;
“How many beers force you to contact the brewer immediately demanding an explanation? The immediate response? “A heapin’ helpin’ of luurve”? That’s what goes into the Temptress (plus Dutch cocoa powder and whole vanilla beans) and that’s what everyone who drinks it gets out. Call it beer karma.”
A year later Kirrily Waldhorn pondered;
“Why have dessert when you can enjoy the Holgate Temptress instead? …richly decadent with lashings of chocolate, coffee and vanilla characters all superbly fine-tuned to create a beer that will knock any chocolate craving on the head.”
Matt Kirkegaard followed in 2013 with this;
“For all we talk about craft beer and flavour, beers that really penetrate the public consciousness are a package that starts and ends with flavour but in between captivates for a whole lot of other reasons. Be tempted.”
Last year Jackson Davey mused;
“This beer is straight up seductive. Past the creamy carbonation, past the sweet-savoury malts and right towards the end of the palate as the mouthful warms up there’s that distinctive kick of cocoa. From then on you find yourself chasing that modest but enticing hint of chocolate all the way to the bottom of the glass.”