Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Holland Brewing Company's El Mole Ocho

Just as there are the seven wonders of the ancient world, there are also the seven moles of Oaxacan cuisine.  (Well, actually, there is a dispute over the origin of the moles, with not only Oaxaca, but also Puebla and Tlaxcala, laying claim to these sauces ... but that is a story for another post.)  The seven moles are the Mole Negro, Mole Rojo, Mole Coloradito, Mole Amarillo, Mole Verde, Mole Chichilo and Mancha Manteles.  Each mole is unique, made from different ingredients that provides the sauce with its own color and flavor.

Just as people talk about the eighth wonder of the world, to draw comparisons to the amazing architectural achievements of antiquity, the brewers at New Holland Brewing Company have staked a claim to "El Mole Ocho" or the Eighth Mole, attempting to link the American craft beer movement to the cuisines of central and southern Mexico. 

So, how does a craft brewer located in Holland, Michigan tie craft beer to Mexican cuisine?  By taking the ingredients used in making a mole, such as the Mole Negro, and adding them to the brewing process. 

The "Mole Ocho" pours a nice brown, that has a reddish tinge, suggesting a spicy, peppery flavor.  Further hints of that flavor are found in the nose of the beer, as the pepper clearly fills your nostrils as you take in the aromas.  Additional scents of chocolate, cocoa and, perhaps, cinnamon are also present in the nose of the beer.

When you drink the beer, the first thing you taste is the pepper.  With every sip, I tried to figure out what peppers were used in the brewing of the beer.  Guajillos?  Arbols? Anchos? Casabels?  I could not pin down the exact chiles used to brew the beer, probably because the identity of the chile was cloaked well with flavors of sweet chocolate.  And there was the nice burn on the back of the throat as you drink it.  Piquin?  This beer is very drinkable for those willing to be adventurous when it comes to beer.  And, with an ABV of 8%, the beer will definitely catch up with you as you enjoy it.  So, it is best enjoyed sip by sip. 

In the end, I could not name the chile, which is unusual for someone who has about a dozen types of chiles in his spice drawer and pantry.  The brewer suggests food pairings that include poultry, red meat and dark chocolate.

I found El Mole Ocho at a Binny's Beverage Depot outside of Chicago, Illinois. I really, really like this beer and hope that New Holland will brew it again.  If you happen to find a bottle of the "Ocho," you should consider buying it.  You will not be disappointed.



Cook in a Bar said...

That beer sound really intriguing...we'll have to look for it.

I really enjoy your blog. I've given you an award on my blog. You can view it here:

Keith Bolek said...

Thank you for the award. I am glad you enjoy my blog. You have a great blog as well!

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