The beers of Brasserie Fantôme can be hit-and-miss, to say the least. And yet what often tastes like your mate's dodgy homebrew seems to have garnered a cult following around the beeriverse and I'm not sure why. I doubt it's the branding. Anyway, the missus brought a bottle of Fantôme Chocolat from Belgium a while back and we sat round one evening to give it a go. It's an 8% ABV saison with the addition of chocolate and chilli.
Expecting something vaguely brown, I was surprised to get a bright orange beer out of the 75cl bottle. It poured flat at first, gradually forming a fine off-white head. It smells vaguely of chocolate, in a kind of artificial and sickly sort of way, though there's also a pleasant touch of white-pepper saison spice. The texture is thick and syrupy, not helped at all by the faint level of fizz. There's a certain spice to it but I can't for certain attribute that to the chilli, in fact it seems very typical of this sort of Belgian yeast. A degree of warmth does settle in the belly after a couple of mouthfuls and I'd be reasonably confident that that's where the chilli action happens. It doesn't taste of chocolate at all.
This is very much a saison through and through, and not a particularly good one, in my opinion, being too hot and heavy. The special ingredients don't do much to steer the experience one way or another. €13 for a bottle of this, in a town where the same amount of Cantillon gueuze costs a fiver? Thanks but no thanks.