Campanology Chocolate Babka Patry Stout

Review Date 1/27/2020    By John Staradumsky

Hey there beer lovers! Today we’re here to talk about beer and value. I have a bone to pick with beer reviewers (and, in truth, reviewers of any product) who think they can give you an honest opinion of anything without actually paying for it. They can’t; what’s more, they won’t give you a true assessment of how your experience of that product will be. Ever notice that these reviewers tend to hype and inflate their ratings of the freebies? That’s what I call the “gravy train” effect. Reviewers want to keep the freebies coming, to ride the gravy train of you will. Brewers aren’t going to send you free samples if you bite the hand that feeds you.

How do I know? I’ve received free samples myself, and when the reviews weren’t gushing, they stopped coming. There’s an unspoken quid pro quo to be observed. Remember, you have to fork over your hard-earned dough for your beer. I know I do. That makes a difference, because it’s not just how much we like a beer that counts. Would we buy it again at the price?

Enter Chocolate Babka Pastry Stout from Campanology Brewery. Campanology (which Webster’s says means “the art of bell ringing”) is a contract brand for Trader Joe’s. A little Binging reveals the address given for Campanology, 1131 Uniek Dr, Waunakee, WI 53597, is in fact the address for Octopi, a major contract brewer.

Octopi describes itself thusly:

Octopi is the leading contract beverage facility in the Midwest. Our reach goes beyond the US, we produce products for companies in Europe and Asia. Our facility is located in Waunakee, WI and was built to cater specifically to the needs of the modern beverage client. Our services extend far beyond the average contract beverage facility. At Octopi, we strive to be a one-stop shop for our clients brands. Whether it is sourcing packaging materials, collaborating on new recipes, designing new brand identities, or helping navigate regional distribution channels. We are our clients’ extra limb.

Octopi, of course, is the plural of octopus. Don’t say octupuses. It’s just not right. That said, we’ll get back to how we started this whole endeavor, and talk about value. One thing I can tell you after enjoying a bottle of Chocolate Babka Pastry Stout from Campanology/Trader Joe’s: it’s a great value. I know this because I bought it.

Chocolate Babka Pastry Stout from Campanology/Trader Joe’s has an alcohol content of 10% by volume and I paid-wait for it-just $3.99 for a bomber at TJs. I mean seriously. Where do you find $3.99 craft beer bombers these days?

Chocolate Babka Pastry Stout from Campanology/Trader Joe’s pours to a jet-black color with a thick creamy tan head and a rich dark chocolate nose. Sipping, the body is full and luxurious with bittersweet dark chocolate notes suggesting Babka filling. There’s powdery cocoa too (hot chocolate accompanying your dessert?), even chocolate syrup, and a chocolaty warm alcohol finish. The bready notes of babka are missing, but I can deal with that.

$3.99 for this rich and satisfying chocolate bomb? It would be a solid value at twice the price (but don’t tell Trader Joe’s I said that). A solid 4 star beer in it's own right, with a half star tacked on for the bargain basement price. Let’s face it. You just hit the jackpot tiger.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.