Young Lion Brewing and Genesee Brew House collaborate on chocolate stout

For some time, Genesee Brew House Beermaster Dean Jones and Young Lion Brewing Owner Jennifer Newman and Head Brewer Phil Platz had been meaning to get together and collaborate on a beer.

Busy schedules and lives got in the way, but this was a pairing that was meant to be, like the duos of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bert and Ernie, or Batman and Robin.

And, in this case, chocolate and stout.

The Young Lion & Genesee Chocolate Stout, which was canned Thursday and unveiled at the Canandaigua microbrewery on Friday, is more than a partnership of beer makers but also a cementing of friendships.

Jones and Newman have known each other since before Young Lion opened in 2017.

“Jen has always been the facilitator of, ‘Let’s go hang out and have a beer,’” said Jones, who noted that several local brewers get together fairly regularly for lunch.

Newman, Jones said, is often the ringleader.

“The entire brewing industry respects Jen,” Jones said. “She does a bang-up job and knows a crap ton about beer.”

And everyone knows the gregarious and enthusiastic Jones, whom Newman counts as a longtime fan.

“One day, I got up the courage to ask Dean if he wanted to collaborate,” Newman said.

Jones is a huge fan of Young Lion’s stouts and a huge fan of Platz’s work, in general. And the Genesee Dark Chocolate Scotch Ale is a World Beer Cup gold winner, so, yes to the collaboration.

“Let’s twist that up,” Jones said.

And those who’ve tried it are shouting all about it, not that it comes as a surprise to Jones or Newman.

“Phil is known for crisp, clean super drinkable and incredibly well-balanced and incredibly brewed beers,” Jones said.

So on brewing day, Jones just showed up with the chocolate.

“It was one of the easiest collaborations I’ve ever done because I didn’t have to do anything,” Jones said.

Jones, who has been in the business for 30 some years, remembered early on in his career adding vanilla to a porter — and liking it.

“That was the start of it all,” Jones said. “What’s next?”

Chocolate, of course, and his love of beer and food — and the combination — grew.

“I realized, beer is food,” Jones said. “Beer can be manipulated, just like food. You can easily add ingredients and play with different kinds of chocolates.”

White chocolate, dark chocolate — you name it. In this case, Dutch cocoa and chocolate truffle extract was mixed with oat malt.

Platz wanted a stout that was dry and not very bitter in order to bring out the chocolate character, and the alcohol content was dialed down a notch to make it more approachable.

“I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish,” Platz said.

Young Lion produced 60 barrels — twice as much as what would ordinarily be done because, hello, chocolate and beer. And it’s a good thing they did, as Newman said much of it sold out before leaving the premises.

Some of the product — in chocolate-colored cans — can be found at select retail outlets while about 100 restaurants in the area ordered sixtels, or small kegs, in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.

“It’s a wonderfully balanced stout, but then the chocolate just sneaks up on you at the end,” Newman said. “This is a testament to both Dean’s and Phil’s palate.”

Loaf & Ladle

Here’s your reminder about the Granger Homestead Society’s 28th annual Loaf & Ladle, which is Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Lunch at the mansion is $12; supper is $15, and delivery to the home or office from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is $10.

Proceeds benefit the homestead’s operating costs and educational programs.

Chicken, vegetarian vegetable and corn chowder are the soup choices. Reservation forms and more information is available at www.grangerhomestead.org.