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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Holland el Mole Ocho

As I venture into one of the odder beers in the state, we hit the unique el Mole Ocho from New Holland Brewing Company. New Holland describes it as "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." 

It pours a murky, copper color with a moderate head that lingers for the first few minutes than settles to a thin layer with light lacing. It looks rich and inviting and my mouth is salivating as it approach my lips and I start getting the first few whiffs of aroma off the beer.

I am blasted with ancho and red chili pepper aromas up front with hints of roasted coffee beans followed by very faint hop notes. I don't sense the chocolate in the nose and the longer I take in the scent of this beer the more the spices saturate my sinuses.

The first sip hits my sweetness buds as toffee and dark chocolate come straight through. After swishing it around my mouth the spices took hold of the sides of my tongue and the coffee beans stuck to the back of the throat as I swallowed. The slightly burnt flavor invoked Mexican dining just as promised and the sweet, spicy, bitter flavors mix well and bring a lot of complexity to this beer. The high alcohol level is present but not over powering as it adds a slight warmth to the already spicy peppers.

A delightful beer that grows on me each time I try it. Well done to the brewers at New Holland for thinking outside the box on this one. I highly recommend it!

For more information on New Holland visit their website at:

Special Thanks to Rick Wilson for comparing tasting notes

Mt. Pleasant Gruit / Kuhnhenn Heather Ale

I thought we would switch it up off my hop obsession and go after a few of the stranger options out there. We tried an ancient style of beer called Gruit and here is what we thought!

Gruit is an old-fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops.

Today we tasted Kuhnhenn’s  Heather Ale side by side with Mt. Pleasant Gruit.

Kuhnhenn’s beer poured a very light amber color and mostly translucent, reminding me visually of a glass of iced tea.  Mt. Pleasant Gruit had a similar color but a bit cloudy. Not much head to either and both faded quickly with minimal lacing.

Aromas match the tea color with scents of black tea and a slight lemon or other citrus lingering. The Mt. Pleasant version had a distinct diacetyl scent of buttered popcorn. I didn’t think it completely over powered the tea and citrus but it was definitely present and am not sure whether it was intentional or not.

With no hops the bitterness I am accustomed to is lacking and in the Heather Ale an almost floral taste mixes with the herbal heather flavors and the malty caramel tones are accompanied with a touch of honey crisp apple. The Mt. Pleasant one brings more of the honey, less of the caramel and almost a cinnamon or nutmeg spiced apples instead of the honey crisp.

Both are fairly light bodied with good carbonation, the Heather Ale being lighter and more refreshing as the Mt. Pleasant Gruit was a touch creamy and leaning towards the medium bodied spectrum.

Over all I thought this style of beer was surprisingly refreshing and drinkable and as my first venture into Gruit’s I left satisfied and would definitely order another next time I need a break from my IPA’s. 

Special Thanks to Rick Wilson for comparing notes with me!

visit the brewery webpages for more information