Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Xocoveza

Beer reviews have become fewer and fewer on this blog. It is not so much that I am not drinking beer. It's just that I have been drinking many of the same beers (some of which have already been reviewed and others which don't really need or deserve a review). However, every once in a while, there comes a beer that deserves its own review. 

The Xocoveza from Stone is such a beer.

The story of this beer begins back in 2014 as a mocha stout recipe submitted by Chris Banker as part of Stone's Annual Homebrew Competition. Banker's recipe won the competition. After joining a collaboration between Stone Brewing and Cerverceria Insurgente (a craft brewery in Tijuana), Banker's recipe became the Xocoveza. Nearly ten years later, the beer is now brewed with a range of ingredients beyond the traditional barley, hops (English Challenger and East Kent Golding) and yeast. The additional ingredients include cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and lactose. The combination of scents and tastes elevate this stout to something well beyond any chile stout (pasilla peppers) or holiday stout (cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg). 

The greatness of this beer comes from the fact that the additional ingredients contribute to every aspect of the beer. The beer pours pitch black with a brown foam. That foam gives way to an aroma where the cinnamon, coffee and coca become gradually more noticeable. While the brewers say there is also nutmeg and peppers in the aroma, I had a little more difficulty pinpointing those elements. 

However, the nutmeg and peppers are evident in the taste. Those flavors emerge out of the cocoa, coffee and cinnamon, and there is a heat that comes through in the middle and the finish from the peppers. Together, the complexity of the numerous flavor elements remind me of a simple mole. Indeed, this beer would complement a mole very well, although I have to admit that it would probably be drunk long before the mole was finished. 

This beer is on my short list of favorites. It also makes me happy that Stone has made the Xocoveza one of its annual offerings. If you see it in the store, buy a six pack or two. It's definitely worth it. 


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