Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate Chile Beers — Elysian vs. New Belgium

Elysian Peste
(Chocolate Chili Ale)
ABV 7.5%

New Belgium Lips of Faith
Cocoa Mole
(Ale with Cocoa and Spices)
ABV 9% 

Here at Bottle Battle headquarters we both love chocolate, we both love chiles and we both love beer. Throw them all into a 22 oz. bottle and you've really got our attention. So it was with great anticipation that we popped the cap on these two contenders.

Elysian is a fantastic brewery from Seattle and the Peste is one of a line of 12 beers they are releasing in their 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series. The Cocoa Mole is made by New Belgium brewing in Colorado as part of their Lips of Faith series of limited release experimental beers. Interesting to note that these two breweries partnered up a few years ago in a move that allowed Elysian to increase distribution and New Belgium to brew more experimental small-batch beers. Wonder if it was just coincidence that they both released chocolate chile beers within a few months of each other?
The Peste was a no-holds-barred chile beer with spice dominating the aroma, flavor and finish. The fantastic chile spice lingered in the back of our throats long after each sip. Fortunately it had a nice base of chocolate malts and cinnamon notes to tie everything together. Great, great beer that could pair with anything from BBQ and tamales to rich chocolate desserts.
The Cocoa Mole was more of a dessert beer with sweet malts and milk chocolate taking center stage. The chile presence was more flavor than spice but every now and again we detected a subtle kick. They did a great job getting it to taste like a sweet mole sauce however, it seemed a bit too sweet to actually complement a mole dish. We think it would be best saved for after dinner with a cinnamon shortbread cookie.
We really liked both beers but ended up awarding the decision to the Peste because of its amazing spice and versatility. We really wanted to get another bottle but alas they were out at the bottle shop. Feel free to invite us over if you've got one. We'll bring the tamales.  
Winner by Unanimous Decision: Elysian Peste