Sexual Chocolate tastes so fine, don’t you agree

by Brian Clarey


I don’t care for Maxim magazine, that glossy paean to frat-boy nonsense like “kickass” movies, airbrushed “hotties” and inane gadgetry. In fact, I think reading Maxim has the opposite of most periodicals’ desired effect: It actually makes you dumber.

Last year they even managed to screw up that elixir most cherished by its target demographic: beer.

Last year Maxim published a “beer list” that basically described the contents of a gas station refrigerator case. After an online lambasting on beer and food blogs, Maxim upgraded its list this year to include some of the fabulous regional brews for which this nation is becoming known. And one of them comes from right here in the Triad: Sexual Chocolate, an imperial stout made seasonable by Foothill’s Brewing in Winston-Salem.

The timing was fortuitous, as the brewery plans to release a batch this month, but today there is no Sexual Chocolate at Foothills as I sit at the bar with my film writer, Mark Burger. But what they do offer today is one of the best bar menus in the Triad, as befits a brewpub of its stature.

There are burgers and salads, to be sure, pizzas, sandwiches and an assortment of deep-fried goodies like mushrooms, chicken wings, duck egg rolls and calamari. But Foothills distinguishes its pub-grub staples with a few exotic offerings like seared tuna, pork ribs and a couple items based on ostrich and buffalo meat.

So food, for now. I corral a cup of she-crab soup, a thick and hearty stew with lots of actual crabmeat and a touch of heat on the back end. It’s a fine overture to lunch on a chilly January afternoon.

For the bulk of my meal I settle on bratwurst, two of them boiled in Foothill’s Pilot Mountain Pale Ale and finished on the grill before being sliced into medallions and served with sauerkraut, stone-ground mustard, marble-rye toast and a copious amount of fries.

The brats pass the test of authenticity: spicy, juicy and with the snappy sort of casing that brings to mind Midwest tailgating parties and very cold beer. And a word or two about the fries: hand cut, fresh cooked and graced with a touch of coarse salt. When a joint pays this much attention to its fries, one can feel relatively safe with anything on the menu.

Burger, a finicky eater, settles on a half order of fish and chips, a single slab of whitefish coated in a batter made from Salem Gold Ale, a lightly hopped and crisp wheat offering. It is, of course, everything battered and fried fish should be: easy on the palate, heavy on the crunch, suitable for seasoning with remoulade or taken down straight. Burger commits a kind of blasphemy by substituting garlic mashed potatoes for chips, but he can be forgiven on the grounds that he is originally from New Jersey.

Lunch goes down during a joint bitch session about the sorry states of local journalism, the film industry and Maxim magazine, which reminds us about the Sexual Chocolate.

Caleb Flint, the barman, gestures towards a handdrawn sign behind the bar indicating that the nowfamous brew will be available here by the glass on Friday evening and in bottles the following morning.

“You better come early,” Flint suggests. “Last time we had a line.”

wanna go?

Foothills Brewing 638 W. 4th St. Winston-Salem;


Beers beers beers beers. (photo by Brian Clarey)