Beer Review 0116: New Belgium Lips of Faith Cocoa Molé

I have reviewed several New Belgium beers on this website, but none from their Lips of Faith series. Depending on what you want to believe, Lips of Faith is either for employees of New Belgium to design their own brews, or it’s just the moniker they use to put out more extreme beers that might not appeal to a wide audience. I’m going with the latter, because some of these Lips of Faith beers are hard to find. This one, Cocoa Molé, was a very limited release, and if I wasn’t in the right place at the right time, I would have missed out on it.

New Belgium brews out of Fort Collins, Colorado. The company started up in 1991, coming out of Jeff Lebesch’s basement and going commercial.

All employees who have worked at New Belgium for at least one year are awarded with an ownership stake in the company, which I think is beyond cool.

Cocoa Molé is a chile beer, brewed with ancho, guajillo, and chipotle peppers, balanced by caramel and chocolate malts. Everything about this beer is interesting, from the ingredients to the bottle artwork — so to say I was excited to try this one was an understatement.

The pour produced a beer with an average size head that was lasting and creamy in texture. The liquid itself was a dark amber with a reddish tint, almost brown with the two colors combined. The body was clear of particles or sediment, and this beer left no lacing on the glass.

Aromatics on this one were anything but normal. If you scroll down to my review sheet, you’ll see that I only circled two things — cinnamon and caramel. This is a cinnamon bomb, along with some hints of caramel. But the overwhelming thing I got on the nose was that it was sweet, and it reminded me of potpourri. The aroma will not be for everyone, but I found it challenging and intriguing, and after multiple (read: a lot) of sniffs, I found myself liking it. And very curious as to what I was about to get myself into.

The flavors on Cocoa Molé almost review like a fine cigar, in that they reveal themselves in thirds. The first third is like a Mexican spice cake — there’s lots of cinnamon, a general spiciness and an almost floury cake-like flavor. Then in the second third, the spice from the peppers kicks in. It’s not overly spicy or anything that is going to make you reach for a cracker or piece of bread to kill the heat, but the heat level is definitely there. Then on the finish, or the final third, a nice chocolate note comes out and the finish rides a spicy but sweet flavor, and lasts a long time.

Clearly, this beer will not be for everyone. But I really liked it, and for a beer produced in the Lips of Faith series, this is perfect. New Belgium took a chance on this one and as far as I’m concerned, this is a success. I’m partial to spicy brews, as evidenced by my review of the Left Hand Fade to Black Pepper Porter, and this beer is something unique and worth a try, even if it’s not going to be for everyone.

Two thumbs up from me on this one, New Belgium!

New Belgium Lips of Faith Cocoa Molé, 88 points. Price: $5.99 for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

NOTE ABOUT THE PRICE FOR THIS BEER: At the store I acquire my beer from, there was an error in their computer system for the price of this beer, so I obtained it “at cost,” or what they pay the wholesaler. So your price will probably be different, and much higher. Yay for computer errors! (I nabbed two bottles.)

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