She's So Heavy

Chocolate beer lightens up

The partnership between chocolate and beer is often an intense one.

The pairing, usually in the form of porter or stout, is heavy with creamy, sweet richness–more a meal than a beverage.

Now, thanks to the ever inventive New Belgium Brewing in Colorado, chocolate has fused with suds in a new and fresher way: Meet Cocoa Mole Ale ($9 for 22 ounces).

The latest offering from the Lips of Faith series, this ale balances the richness of dark cocoa with a lion's share of spices and chiles: Guajillo, chipotle, ancho and cinnamon brighten the brew.

Our enjoyment of this beer was brought on as much by our nose as by our taste buds. The beer's intoxicating scent is pregnant with fire and a dusty-sweet acidity.

And this preamble makes no false advertisements. The brew's taste is quite similar to its smell, with a moderate, smoke-laced heat rounded out by the sweeter notes of chocolate. Best of all, the Cocoa Mole's dry, silky body means that the beer is perfect on its own or with food.

Bloated, no more.