New Brew: New Holland el Mole Ocho

10 Jun

A little spice can go a long way.  True in life, especially true in food, and occasionally true in beer.  When I saw New Holland Brewing’s el Mole Ocho at Barriques Fitchburg on a recent beer run before an epic camping and disc golfing (don’t call it frolfing) weekend, my inner spice fiend’s interest was certainly piqued.  A beer inspired by mole, the famous Mexican sauce often containing dried chiles, cocoa and/or coffee?  Count me in.  With Furthermore Oscura now constituting roughly 36% of my total liquid intake until I can’t find it on shelves anymore, a coffee-infused, Mexican-inspired beer couldn’t sound more delicious.  Unless you added cocoa and hot chiles, of course.

New Holland el Mole Ocho

Style: Spiced Strong Ale

Vitals: 8.0% abv; 22 degrees plato; brewed with cocoa, dried chiles and coffee; ~$6.99/22oz bomber at Barriques Fitchburg

Company Line: “Our exploration into the flavors of mole, the legendary sauce of central Mexico. Malty aroma and rich, cocoa-laden body laced with an invigorating tinge of dried chilies and coffee.”

My take: pours a dark mahogany/garnet in the glass under a finger of khaki-colored foam.  Nose oozes toffee, caramel sauce, vanilla and old coffee.  Palate is sticky-sweet with caramel malts, citrus, milk chocolate and the faintest chile heat in the finish.  Body is dense and slick, leaving the lips sticky with repeating sipping.  Like many spiced beers, this one is just a little too cautious with it’s theme ingredients.  I was hoping for more contribution from the cocoa, coffee and chiles in what could have been a seriously aromatic and complex beer.  Instead, I got what amounted to a a sticky doppelbock (Capital Autumnal Fire comes to mind) with a mildly spicy finish.  Don’t get me wrong, el Mole Ocho is a pleasant drink –  it just falls short of the the exciting potential of its culinary inspiration.

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