Mexican. Chocolate. Stout. Those are about the three most exciting words in the English language. Individually, they’re a bit ho-hum. But string them together and I get about as giddy as a preteen with Justin Bieber tickets in her back pocket.
I saw those words on the chalkboard of Asheville’s newest brewery, Twin Leaf, last night and had to give it a go. I was tired and ready to go home, but you don’t come across a beer that decadent too often, so I felt obligated to indulge.
We had finished the first road ride of the season just a couple of hours before. My group of riding buddies made the slow grind up Town Mountain to the water tower, then bolted immediately downtown for nachos and beer. Total ride time, just under an hour. Total distance, right about 12 miles with 1,000 feet of vert. What we’ve discovered as we approach middle age, is that it’s important to follow any sort of healthy pursuit immediately with an unhealthy reward. Booze, fried cheese, strip clubs…By our calculations, caloric intake of the reward should at least double the caloric output of the activity. I call it Middle Age Math.
I’m sure the Mexican Chocolate Stout satisfied that caloric requirement all on its own. Twin Leaf brewed the stout with cocoa nibs, cinnamon and chiles de arbol, which aren’t as hot as cayenne peppers, so the beer wasn’t as spicy as you might think. It just had a little bit of backend heat, which I think came more from the cinnamon than the chiles. It was sweet, vaguely spicy, and entirely decadent—like drinking a slice of Mexican chocolate cake. It was the perfect way to end the night.
There’s no way I could drink this beer every day. Okay, that’s not true, I could totally drink it every day. Luckily, most breweries keep these uber decadent chocolate stouts to limited, seasonal releases. You’ll have to make the trek to Twin Leaf now to try their Mexican Chocolate Stout, but there are other options. Pisgah is set to release their super popular Chocolatized Vortex II, a Russian Imperial Stout that’s soaked in chocolate nibs from French Broad Chocolate Factory before being bottled. Look for the beer in 22-ounce bombers and on tap around town.
I recommend grabbing a handful of the bottles and saving a few for a rainy day. The beauty of Imperial Stouts is that they tend to get better with age. Just like the dudes in my group ride.