New Belgium Brewing Co. has been brewing beer for a really long time, 24 years to be exact and they do so in Fort Collins, Colo.

Back in 2012 they decided to move out east and expand their reach on the brewing world by beginning work on a second location in Ashville, N.C., which is actually slated to open up sometime this year. It all started back in 1989 though when Jeff Lebesch was cruising the Belgium countryside on his fat tire bike and had a vision of brewing Belgian-inspired beers stateside. He is quick to admit though that it was his wife that pushed hard for the success and vision of the brewery, Kim Jordan, who now resides as the ceo of New Belgium, was the Jill of all trades when the brewery was first starting doing everything from bottling to marketing. Now, she along with head brewer, Peter Bouckaert, formerly of Rodenbach, who came on in 1996 are the one’s manning the ship as Lebesch left the company.

Its most notable beer, Fat Tire, an amber ale was first brewed by Lebesch in his basement years before the brewery became what it is today. It is still its flagship beer, but a popular series has become the Lips of Faith Series, which Cocoa Molé is a part of.

A long list of other beers have made an appearance in the series as well:

  • Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout – a collaboration with Perennial Artisan Ales
  • Gratzer – a collaboration with 3 Floyds
  • Gruit
  • Cigar City – a collaboration with Cigar City Brewing
  • Wild2 Dubbel
  • Coconut Curry
  • Yuzu Berliner Weisse
  • Paardebloem Ale
  • Pluot Ale
  • Cascara Quad
  • Heavenly Feijoa Tripel

The series has become very popular and there is a lot of creativity on the beers they release.

I recently found out that Cocoa Molé was planning on returning at some point due to its popularity, but that didn’t stop me from drinking one from the original release.

Cocoa Molé pours a very dark brown, with a small amount of light that comes through the top 10 percent of the beer. There is a very light brown head with tiny bubbles that disappear very quickly and stick to the edges of the glass. It almost appears like a nitrous beer due to the lack of carbonation and small tight bubbles in the head.

There is a lot of spiciness on the nose of this beer, both cinnamon and pepper spicy aromas fill the glass. In addition, both semi-sweet and dark chocolate aromas that are strong on this one. Hints of toffee, malt, and dark fruit round out the smells.

This beer is really pretty pleasant, the flavor starts out with some watered down milk chocolate notes. It tastes a lot like if you were to make hot chocolate with water instead of milk.1 Then from the middle on, the peppers and spiciness really shine. There is a low and enjoyable heat that runs from right after the sweetness of the chocolate fades at the beginning to the end where it gives way to a different type of spicy with cinnamon and clove.

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New Belgium Cocoa Molé
BREWERY: New Belgium Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Fort Collins, Colo.
STYLE: Porter
ABV: 9 percent
IBU: 20
PRICE: $9
RELEASE DATE: January 2012
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
Admittedly, I have not been impressed with the majority of the Lips of Faith Series from New Belgium, so I came ready to drink this beer and be disappointed. However, it was quite the opposite, I thought this was a well-done brew, with a lot of interesting components that worked together really well with one another. Nothing was overdone, or made the beer hard to drink, all of the flavors blended very well together to create a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. I did think the beer could have a more robust base to help support this particular style, as overall, it felt a bit thin due to the amount of different adjuncts that were involved. I did overall enjoy the beer and feel it was a great way to enter the world of “pepper beers."
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