Beachwood BBQ & Brewing started in 2011 in Long Beach, Calif. after the success of the original restaurant, Beachwood BBQ in nearby Seal Beach. This new facility brought even more success, recognition and awards offering the company the ability to open two more facilities. One dedicated to sour style ales also in Long Beach, and the other a beer only style tap room in Huntington Beach.

Today’s beer is one of the few beers at Beachwood that doesn’t have a cheesy dad-joke pun of a name. Mocha Machine comes in at 9.2 percent ABV with 36 IBUs. It is brewed using a variety of German and British malts with coffee from Portola Coffee Lab and then aged on cocoa nibs.

The pour reveals a thick black body with dark brown highlights near the edges. A tan head rises to a peak of about an inch in height quickly receding into a thin ring around the edge. The aroma smacks you with, you guessed it, coffee and chocolate. There is a bit of vanilla and caramel like sweetness on the nose, too, giving Mocha Machine an overall aroma that reminds me a lot of Tiramisu.

The taste brings on some bitter balance to the sweet nose. Dark roasted black coffee and bitter dark chocolate are the biggest flavors here. It is almost difficult to tell if this is a beer; at first it comes across as those coffee mocha drinks you buy in a can at the corner store but then leads into a lingering roasty bitterness. Carbonation is a skosh low but the mouthfeel is spot on, not too heavy not too thin. However, I would really like to see some of the sweetness from the nose make its way into the actual taste.

Beachwood Mocha Machine
BREWERY: Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
LOCATION: Long Beach, Calif.
STYLE: Stout
ABV: 9.2 percent
IBU: 36
PRICE: $12.99
RELEASE DATE: March 2013
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
Overall, Mocha Machine delivers on the promise of coffee and chocolate, albeit simply. Of course, if your reaching for a beer called Mocha Machine in the first place you expect it to at least deliver in that regard. I picked up no hint of the 9.2 percent ABV and the mouthfeel is spot on but the balance leans a bit too much towards bitter and the carbonation is slightly low. I would be curious to see, if this was served without any sort of context to a group of blindfolded people how many would come to the conclusion of “beer.”
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