For over fifteen years both Lake Champlain Chocolates and Long Trail Brewing Company have been major sponsors of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. This year the artisanal corporate culture of both companies, and the efforts of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ research and development specialist Lauren Deitsch and Long Trails’ head brewer Dave Hartman, collaborated to create the Bebop Hop chocolate bar especially for the Flynnarts Youth in Jazz Scholarship as part of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, 2013.
This is the story of the creation of the BeBop Hop Bar as told to me by both Lauren and Dave in interviews I had with both of them on Monday 20 May 2013.
The story begins with a Long Trail…
The first interview was with Dave Hartman at the Long Trail Brewing Company visitor center in Bridgewater Corners, VT at around 1100.
As he tells it…
Last year Hartman had a chance to visit the Lake Champlain Chocolate production center and was impressed with the common creative processes that both companies shared. The idea of a beer using chocolate wasn’t new and neither was making chocolate with beer flavored filling. What was new was the combination of both.
There seemed to be two choices for the filling for the chocolate. The first was a cream based ganache and the other was a sugar based caramel. The ganache was a thought when the compatibility of the hop oils and the milk-fat was considered. When tested they were too different and the idea was dropped. This left the caramel.
Here is where the maltose and the higher temperature created caramel found closer bonds. The maltose was the result of using the half-barrel pilot brewery, visited in the last posting, to create four different styles of wort that was reduced into what all home brewers known as “malt extract”.
For the hop flavor both Lauren and Dave decided to rely on the use of commercially produced hop-oils of the highest quality. Which kind? The iconic Cascade. The reason for the choice was that it was iconic.
Side note: Since LCC is certified Kosher the hop-oil had to be also certified Kosher. A challenge it was but it was overcome.
In producing the hop oils by distillation the aromas are lost and only the flavor profile remains the same, in a much condensed form.
The facet of developing the malt flavor in the caramel and the intensity of the hop flavor profile was then in the hands of the LCC specialist Lauren Deitsch.
This left Dave to work on the packaging and label design, which began in January 2013. Once again Hartman was impressed with the similarities marketing the two products.
Side note: Hartman is looking forward to developing a “chocolate” brew using “nibs” rather than any of the other chocolate alternatives. (More on “Nibs” later…)
The Lake Champlain Chocolate Company’s side of the story…
The second interview was with Lauren Deitsch, Research and Development Specialist for the Lake Champlain Chocolates Company. The interview was at the Lake Champlain Chocolate headquarters on Pine Street in Burlington, VT at around 1500.
As a fifteen year annual sponsor of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, we make a special chocolate bar for the Flynnarts Youth in Jazz Scholarship each year. Last year I worked the New Orleans roots of jazz and used bourbon in the filling.
Deitsch admitted that beer was a bit difficult to work with.
She was most interested when she got the custom-made malt syrup/extract. As she recalled the four samples were; IPA, Double Bag, Caramel and Coffee Bean and the Coffee Bean won out.
It was much more trial-and-error with the hop oil since the flavor is incredibly strong. It was the biggest challenge. In the end she used 75 grams of oil to make 2,500 bars of BeBop Hop .
The chocolate in the bar is 70% milk chocolate and 30% dark chocolate.
When trying to get a chocolate flavor in a beer, rather than actual chocolate or a syrup Lauren Deitsch suggests using what are called “Nibs” of cocoa. These are the roasted cocoa bean as it is just crushed and then ground into powder. Brewers can think of it as cacoa “grist” before becoming flour.
This is a “thinking tasters” chocolate. It will probably appeal to brewing types but if you aren’t familiar with the individual flavors of the ingredients of beer then this might not be the chocolate for you.
Available until 9 June on-line at: