BEERS SUCH AS Crème Brûlée confound critique. On the one hand, it executes its objective to perfection as a tooth-knackering, cola-colored concoction of liquefied chocolate, whipped crème, vanilla, and whole milk, all with a candied cherry on top. On the other hand, the combination is so intense that a snifter is hardly palatable, much less the entirety of a 22 oz bottle. Splitting it between four parties may not even be
Perhaps, then, best to think of the Crème Brûlée as a bottled chocolate smoothie, concentrated root beer float, or perishable liqueur. Under such circumstances its minimal bitterness, just medium carbonation, lactose-emboldened mouthfeel, slight coffee-blackened aftertaste, and sugary grit would be ideal: drizzled over ice cream, acting as a lower ABV substitute for sweet rum, or suckled on to placate a sweet tooth (which would surely soon rot and fall out with any sustained administration.)
More troubling is that Crème Brûlée is yet another high-gravity Southern Tier that lacks for the taste of alcohol to balance its bigger flavors. Nowhere would that spirituous warmth be more appropriate (indeed, called for) than in a dessert stout of this magnitude. Alas, the beer finishes as thick as it begins with just a hint of its 9.5% ABV’s glow. The aromas are no less chock full of sweet things—potent enough to ward off some would-be tasters. It’s said that the beer mellows considerably over time, but when so many other nightcap alternatives are already better fresh (Old Rasputin, Yeti, BCBS, Plead the 5th, to say nothing of Belgian–style quads), who can be bothered to wait?
Served: 22 oz bottle
– As a dessert: 86
– As a beer: 72