Deep in the backcountry of Wallonia there exists a tiny farmhouse brewery with a maniacally devoted cult following. It all started in 1988 by Dany Prignon, a man who wanted to promote interest and tourism for his locale.
To do that he decided to brew traditional saisons using local, seasonal, and sometimes off-the-wall ingredients. Sticking with the same theme he named his brewery Fantôme after a local legend, the Ghost of Berthe de la Roche. During summer nights a ghost, that oddly looks like a klan member, can be seen placed on top of the castle accompanied by music and lights.
Chocolat is the beer I will be dissecting today. Here is how the label describes the contents:
A Belgian ‘saison style’ ale brewed with cocoa powder and chili pepper? Ay, Caramba! Score another first for the unredictable brewery that was first – and so far the only- brewery to make ales out of dandelions and mushrooms, among other things.[sic]
The last few Fantômes I’ve had have gushed uncontrollably upon opening so I was surprised when this one made only the slightest pop. In a Teku, Chocolat shows a clear pumpkin orange body with only a slight ring of white foam round the walls of the glass. The aroma is complex and clean with chili pepper up front blending with nail polish remover, malted barley, pink peppercorn, alcohol heat, and just a slight note of chocolate. There is also a strong mineral presence suggesting a really hard water profile.
Tasting shows pretty much the same.
The mouth feel is heavy and creamy with a strong salty mineral profile. The cocoa powder is probably making the biggest impact there in the weight of the beer whereas the flavor is being overshadowed. The chili pepper element shows no heat and comes across as more of a green Cubanelle pepper. The 8 percent alcohol is very prevalent and quite harsh indicating a large amount of fusels.