Greetings from week #2 of my trip to Cincinnati, my fellow beer imbibing buddies! Last week I shared with you my Cincinnati IPA of choice, Madtree PsycHOPathy. This week I want to share with you one of the most interesting craft beers I have consumed to date: Triple Digit’s “Chickow!” brown ale. This is one you will not soon forget. This is an imperial brown ale brewed with hazelnut. It is like an East European James Bond girl: it is sweet, seductive, strong, and can knock you on your ass.
Triple Digit out of Cincinnati, Ohio is fairly new (about two-and-a-half years old) and appears to have set a most excellent precedent for itself. I cannot confirm but it appears the name of the brewery is due to the fact that all of their beers (they only have six per their Facebook page) have an ABV of 10.0% or more. They seem to be dedicated to the hardcore craft. And they shall get no objections to that from Henry Deltoid, rest assured. I love a good ass-kicking beer with a bigger set of cojones than Grace Jones, and so should you.
Chickow looks like Coca-Cola. It is dark brown with loose, bubbly carbonation and virtually no head save a very thin, tan film. The aroma isn’t very strong, but what it does contain is an intriguing blend of booze, sugar roasted hazelnuts, malt, and chocolate. The flavor of it is certainly akin to its aroma, as the initial sip reveals a strong flavor of hazelnut, caramel, root beer, brown sugar, and chocolate. It finishes with a pinch of booze, which is incredibly mild relative to the brew’s 10% ABV. Its aftertaste carries through with sweet hazelnuts, pecans, and then introduces pretzel bread and a light, playful flavor of hops, which is just what this beer needs as the sweetness could overwhelm many a beer drinker. The texture contains a fairly heavy amount of prickly carbonation, and is quite wet and drinkable, contrary to the syrupy consistency one might expect from a beer that packs this flavor and strength. Lacing is virtually non-existent.
Because of the sweetness and high ABV, I would probably have to limit myself to no more than 2 Chickows in one session. I didn’t push the limits when I drank this, but something tells me more than two would make me wake up with a hangover that would have me feel like my head had been used as a bongo at a Rusted Root concert.
I sincerely hope Triple Digit remains strong and grows in the beer community. They have marvelous business model: provide great taste from unique recipes, and provide an easy means to shitfacedness (I just made that word up in case you can’t tell). If they stick to those core principles they will succeed and excel.
I didn’t get to drink all of the beers Cincinnati has to offer, but I certainly had my share including MadTree, Rhinegeist, and Christian Moerlein. And I am grateful Triple Digit was among them. If you’re in town and are in need of some great taste that will fill you up with drunken bliss, give Chickow or one of Triple Digit’s other selections a taste. It will lube you up and give you a false sense of machismo that may lead you to believe you could kick Grace Jones’s ass… and I’d love to see that, because she would turn each and every one of you into a beer pretzel. And that would tickle me so.