R.I.P. Harpoon Chocolate Stout

The Barcade chain receives a heap of well-earned attention for keeping the arcade scene alive in a world where home video game consoles produce graphics, sound, and gameplay that we couldn’t have imagined in the 1980s and 1990s, but it doesn’t get enough props for the other part of its portmanteau-powered moniker. Barcades, as a whole, are rather impressive bars that boast a surprisingly robust craft beer selection.

A week ago, a friend and I visited the St. Marks Place Barcade, because I had a hankering for a cold one after reading Jeff Alworth’s The Beer Bible.  The establishment’s beer menu read as quite delicious, but it was Harpoon Brewery’s Chocolate Stout that caught my eye. The brew’s official description is one that no person of drinking age could resist.

A chocolate stout is a beer with a noticeable dark chocolate flavor. This flavor is created from the use of darker, more aromatic malt that has been roasted or kilned until it acquires a chocolate color. Harpoon Chocolate Stout is brewed with an abundance of chocolate malt and a touch of chocolate.

I had to try it. And after downing a sample served by a perky barkeep, I ordered a glass. And after ordering a glass, I was in love.

I’ve had the opportunity to taste just three chocolate beers in my lifetime, and Harpoon’s joint is easily the best of the lot. The first chocolate beer was so bad that I should  remember its name, but I don’t. The second was DuClaw Brewing Company’s Big Baby Jesus, a tasty 6.2% chocolate-and-peanut butter porter that fell just short of greatness. And now this.

I thoroughly enjoyed Harpoon Chocolate Stout. It’s one of those beers that dazzle the senses with its inky flow, chocolate scent, smooth feel, and, of course, rich taste. The cocoa beans-and-roasted-malt combo is potent one that hits the tongue with a jab and cross—there’s no question that you’re drinking a chocolate-based beer. The chocolate flavor is an immediate one, unlike Big Baby Jesus’, which has a flavor that sneaks up on you. Still, it’s not overwhelming. Harpoon Chocolate Stout isn’t a liquefied candy bar; it’s a beer through and through. Sadly, Harpoon Chocolate Stout is no longer with us.

Maybe the beer is simply too good for this world.

I intend to make my return to St. Marks Barcade sooner than expected to salute a wonderful beer. I would pour out my next sip for the gone-too-soon brew, but that would simply be a waste of valuable drops.