New Belgium - Cocoa Mole

In recent days I’ve been hearing buzz about one of New Belgium’s brews from the Lips of Faith line. Apparently, everyone has been loving this Cocoa Mole ale, leaving me only to sample their words. Well, I put a stop to that and picked up a bottle for myself. One taste, and I knew I had to write about this unique brew. Don’t worry folks, I will practice restraint with this review and not lapse into any puns, clichés, or stereotypes. And I won’t say “Holy Mole”, except for one time, right now, or rather, just then.
Cocoa Mole is an ale brewed with spices and chilies, with just a touch of cocoa to bring it together. This is a bit of a limited release, so try to get some while you can, either on tap, or in a bottle. It only has 9 percent alcohol by volume, which I like to think makes for a good dinner beer, especially if it is a big meal of barbeque or some southwest-style cuisine. At around $9 for a 22-ounce-bottle, it’s good to buy a few and dole them out as the situation provides.

Uncapped and ready, I poured a hearty sized amount into my trusty goblet. You can tell just from the nose that the brewers wanted this to be a very full-flavored beer. There is a distinct spice and nutty aroma, with a sweet creamy chocolate note, almost like some kind of rich dessert, like tiramisu. This extremely inviting scent forged me ahead, and I gave it a taste. Now, that complex scent was still in the picture, but at the front of the stage was this great, exiting taste of chilies.

Cocoa Mole is brewed with ancho, guajillo and chipotle chili peppers, and it becomes very apparent when tasted. Their effect also gives off a bit of cracked black pepper and fruity banana esters. Tasting this, you can really tell why they called it a “mole”. It has all that powerful smokiness and a touch of heat, but without losing it’s complexity. I kind of wonder how it would be if the tables were turned, as in a mole out of a beer, instead of a beer out of a mole. I imagine it would be one heck of a good mole sauce.

With some beers, the proper pairings for them don’t exactly jump to mind immediately. Most take a bit of thought and care put into determining what would compliment them perfectly. This beer, however, is one that really calls for freshness and spice. Salsa, roast chicken and lime, beans, polenta, and marinated shrimp would be my first choices. I believe this is easily determined because of how much personality this beer exudes. It has such a unique flavor profile to it, similar and complimentary foods become obvious. In fact, ever since trying this beer, ideas for food or a dinner that would go well with the beer have been flowing to mind. I know I’ll be scouring my local beverage purveyors for this, stocking up for whenever I feel like making an ordinary meal mole-extraordinary.


View this article at The NB Citizen