You had me at hello
A Review of Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 3/5/2015 by Chops
                   
Great
Sometimes a beer will grab you from the second you lay eyes upon it. You pick it up off the shelf, give it a warm smile, and utter those magic words... you had me at hello. A hackneyed phrase to be sure, but it applies every now and then. This is the reaction I had when I came across Flying Dog's Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout. Go ahead, read that again. I'll pause so you can indulge in the visceral reaction. This is one of the many reasons I love Flying Dog's Brewhouse Rarities. They just love to string words together in configurations that tantalize the senses. Just to reiterate: Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout. Let the drooling begin.

To quite Flying Dog, ''One was inspired by a dark chocolate with jalapeƱo she can't resist at our local organic co-op. The other grew up in Southern California and he consistently had a mug of the real thing in-hand at friends' houses. The duo behind our Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout used both experiences to craft our first Brewhouse Rarities release of 2015. With lactose, cinnamon, serano chiles and cocoa powder added to the beer, a combination of sweet spice and roasted chocolate aromas are followed by flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and a lingering chili finish.''

In the glass, this beer had a near-black coloration with some ruby edging. It came with a rocky brown head that had good retention. On the nose, I was greeted strong roasted aroma with pepper-infused dark chocolate. That was pretty much it. This was a simple yet very enticing introduction. I wasted no time diving in for that first sip.

The first thing I noticed was that the flavor was a great deal milder than the aroma. It actually leaned more towards hot chocolate with a subtle pepper character. It had a simplistic flavor with little complexity, but that was okay. I was expecting peppery chocolate, and that's exactly what I got. Rounding out the mix were faint notes of cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee roast. I found no hop profile, which was hardly surprising considering the style. The body was light and felt a bit thin and chalky on the palate. It was an easy drinker to be sure and finished with a dry roast aftertaste.

Overall, I found Flying Dog's Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout to be an interesting concept that worked fairly well. I would imagine that the rich and savory flavors of Mexican Hot Chocolate are somewhat difficult to translate into a beer. No one should expect an infusion going into this beer, but rather a stout with characteristics. I liked the beer. It had strong points and weak points, but the overall vision was successful. It's a very easy beer to grasp and is also very accessible. This is a brew that I can recommend to any and all beer fans as an entertaining foray into new territory. After all, this is what better beer is all about: an ever changing landscape.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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