Black Forest cake is a chocolate sponge cake with cherries based on the German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, which translates to “Black Forest Cherry-Torte.”
The dessert is not directly named after the Black Forest mountain range in southwestern Germany.
According to one school of thought, the name is derived from the speciality liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavour and alcoholic content, that gives the dessert its flavour. Cherries, cream, and Kirschwasser were first combined in the form of a dessert in which cooked cherries were served with cream and Kirschwasser, while a cake combining cherries, cookies / biscuits and cream (but without Kirschwasser) probably originated in Germany.
In 2006, Chuck Haines had an idea to open a brewery in Williamsburg, Va. Inspired by his time in Europe, Chuck wanted to share his passion for authentic, craft-brewed ales with Virginia. He started brewing in what was a different and challenging time for craft beer. Doors didn’t open to craft beer as easily as they do today. In 2008, Geoff Logan was brought on board as brewmaster and Alewerks Brewing immediately began receiving awards and accolades for its beers. The craft beer market began to expand, as did Alewerks, including the introduction of beers like Bourbon Barrel Porter, Café Royale, Bitter Valentine, and Pumpkin Ale.
Alewerks has always been and will always remain one of my favorite breweries as I am fortunate to live less than 30 minutes from the brewery and its taproom, allowing me to obtain fresh and new releases at will. After the brewery opened both a satellite taproom and a micro-brewing facility close by, I see us being friends for a long time to come.
Today’s review is from its specialty release category and was bottled earlier this year. It is an imperial chocolate stout aged in both bourbon and brandy barrels with Montmorency cherries added. Originally released to the public in 2017, this 500ml bottle pours an incredibly dark color with a finger and half of tan head which lingers for about a minute until it forms into a swirl on top. Aromas jump at me with chocolate and light bourbon and cherries.
The first sip is nothing less than decadent with the taste and feel of one of those high dollar chocolate bars with the unreal cocoa content that is always in the ultra-high percentages. Deep, rich cherries abound in the taste followed by a good shot of bourbon and roasted, sticky malts. The chocolate is rich to the point of being semi-dry, like cocoa powder. Mouth feel is clingy and slightly acidic from the Montmorency sour cherries and remains attached to the palate for quite some time. The alcohol is present, but does not overwhelm even as the beer warms. Finish is bold with chocolate and finished with cherries, bourbon and partially sweet malts.
Alewerks Brewing Black Forest Stout (2019)
BREWERY: Alewerks Brewing
LOCATION: Williamsburg, Va.
STYLE: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.5 Percent
RELEASE DATE: 2017 (Bottled, 2019)
AVAILABLE IN: 500ml bottle
BEERS POURED: One