I am so glad that New Belgium made this beer. Why, you might ask? Because this beer, more than any other that is available commercially from them, has restored my faith in the brewing chops at New Belgium. This beer is an ale that is brewed with cocoa and spices and comes in at 9% ABV, and is the MOST unique and interesting beer I have EVER tasted. I’m not sure if you could even call this beer, except it was brewed, and so I guess it qualifies, but that is where all resemblance to beer ends.
In most cases I would say that is a very BAD thing, but in this case it works for me. I am certain this beer will be a love it or hate it proposition, you’ll either think it is an amazing representation of the brewers craft, or you will hope the brewer drowns in a vat of mole never to be heard from again. I fall into the camp of those that think this beer is brilliant, but not at first. Let me explain.
When I first got my glass of the Cocoa Mole, and put it to my nose, all I could smell was a HUGE amount of cinnamon. It smelled like a really bad Christmas beer, with maybe a hint of cocoa and nutmeg in there to boot. My brain went UGH! I thought I would hate it. But being the intrepid beer drinker I am I sojourned on.
When I took my first sip, I immediately thought “Oh Oh this is gonna suck!” It started out sweet and figgy with all that cinnamon and I thought I was in for a really rough ride, and perhaps a sink pour. Then something happened, something unique, amazing, wonderful, and magical! About mid palate I got a hint of the Cocoa proper, not masking itself as fig, then it was this burn! An intense mouth burn that was so peppery that I thought someone had put Tabasco directly on my tongue!
It was a fire unlike anything I have ever experienced from a beer. One of my favorite beers ever is the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide. I also have a confession, I’m not a huge Chocolate beer fan, but the Yeti has this peppery spice on the back of your tongue that builds as you drink it to give you just that little extra kick. In terms of heat, this beer has the Yeti beat by a mile!
The heat is from Ancho, Guajillo, and Chipotle peppers and really turns this beer up to an 11 on the Richter Scale. It coats your whole tongue, and gives it a little pinch at the end. It actually made me say WOW! when I drank it. I told the server that I wasn’t digging it at first but when that heat hits it completely dries your palate and acts as a cleanser so you are ready for the next sip.
All this said, I don’t think I could drink a whole bomber of this stuff. It is definitely a beer to share. I asked my server if it came in a sixtel, and to my surprise it came in a full sized 15.5 gallon keg. Then I asked how long it had been on tap, and she said about 3 days. I then asked how much was left, and she went over to the cooler and tried to lift up the keg and could barely move it. Over half the keg was left. She said that people liked it, but they were only drinking one glass of the stuff.
And therein lies that issue with this beer. It is great, but it fries your palate and you want to move on pretty quickly. I hope they keep experimenting with this brew. I think it would make a great stout, and barrel aging might really push this brew over the top. Nonetheless, a great expression of the brewer’s craft, and a very unique beer to be mass producing! If you see it, pick one up and let me know your thoughts. If you’ve already tried it, let me know your thoughts below.