A Beer Love Affair: Ska Autumnal Molé Stout

My recent passion for Green Flash Brewing Company's Rayon Vert was no secret to anybody. I flaunted it everywhere I went, unashamed of my obsession. But recently, a spicy seductress has entered my life that may end up being a homewrecking flavor of the month (or season?) that pushes Rayon Vert aside. That delicious siren is Ska Brewing's new Autumnal Molé Stout.

Molé beers are certainly not for everybody. With previous breweries' molé-style releases (New Belgium's Cocoa Mole, New Holland Molé Ocho, etc.) I heard responses that covered the entire spectrum from positive to negative. Personally, I was a huge fan of New Belgium's Cocoa Molé, but always cringed at the $13 price tag for a bomber. So when I heard a couple months ago that Ska was brewing a canned mole stout that would be sold in a six-pack, I was like a kid counting down the days to Christmas.

So what do I like so much about this beer, after drinking many of them? Well, first off, I think it has great balance considering what it is. This style is notable because of its numerous strong flavored-ingredients, and can easily have potential to be cinnamon or pepper overload (see New Holland), but Ska's offering does a good job of presenting a beer that complements the sweet with spice rather than overwhelm it. There's a sweetness on the front end when taking a drink, then a sort of a residual, lingering heat that stays on the back of the tongue for a bit, but isn't harsh or unpleasant. The body on this beer is a bit thin for a stout, but given the flavor combinations being worked with, I appreciate that in a way. It drinks easily, which may help contribute to the fact that the heat isn't overwhelming and doesn't overstay its welcome on your palate.

Plus, for $7.99 a six pack (on the Kansas side, I assume it will be more along the lines of $8.99 in Missouri), you are getting an awesome deal on a complex brew, especially compared to its molé predecessors from other breweries. New Belgium was $13 + tax for 22 ounces, and with Ska you are paying $8 + tax for 72 ounces. I'm no mathemetician, but I think if you factor in the cosine variables and carry over the function dividends, the Ska turns out to be a way better deal.

And, since KC Beer Blog is apparently the third best food blog in the city, I feel obligated to mention that I've experimented a couple times with Molé Stout, and seems to lend itself well to cooking. My first shot in the dark was dropping some chocolate caramel brownie ice cream into a glass of the beer, and it was so good that I have every intention of doing it regularly. So, if you see me in a couple months and I look a little more 'soft', now you know why. And just tonight, I marinated some chicken in the beer, and created a molé sauce out of the stout blended with some other ingredients. Also fantastic, and if anyone's interested in the recipe, I'll be happy to share (be forewarned, I'm not much of an 'exact amounts' kind of guy when it comes to cooking). I also intend to put together a batch of chili with some of the Molé Stout added.

Molé chicken and peppers made with Ska Autumnal Molé Stout.

A complex, balanced beer at a great price point. Sure, cocoa, cinnamon and peppers might not sound like they belong anywhere near a beer, but for $8, I promise it's worth giving a shot to see how you like it. And I promise, if you don't enjoy it and have leftovers, I'll gladly take them off your hands.

Ska's Molé Stout is now available in Kansas and should be available shortly on the Missouri side (I believe it was spotted in St. Louis today or yesterday). Be warned, it's a seasonal (if you couldn't gather by the 'Autumnal' in the name) so it will be around for a limited time. And while it may sound like Ska paid me to write this post, trust me when I say I've been spending my own hard-earned money on this irresistable temptress of a beer and simply couldn't help but post about my newfound beerlust.

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