Glassware: The Spiegelau IPA glass is perfect for this aggressively delicate beer. The aroma is a showstopper and must be experienced to fully appreciate this delicious and unique beer. If the IPA glass is not handy a snifter will work just as well, the key is glassware that allows the beer to warm slowly and unleash the full bouquet of aromas.
Description: Mocha IPA pours a deep rich copper hue with a frothy tan head that leaves behind a thick and sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is very coffee forward with chocolate right behind and notes of citrus hops present throughout. It sounds like a very odd combination, but it works wonderfully. The taste follows the nose with coffee making a strong presence but the chocolate hits the palate first with coffee following quickly making for a great combination before the bright citrus flavors enter. The full body and moderate carbonation give the beer a perfect vessel for the flavors typically only experienced in darker beers such as stouts and porters. The semi-dry finish sends a reminder this is an IPA and a very delicious one. This beer is unique, but delicious and is an absolute must try.
Food pairing: Mocha IPA makes for a very interesting situation when pairing with foods. The key is to examine the beer and foods for what you wish to highlight. If you want the rich coffee and chocolate flavors to shine through than grilled meats are a must. Ribs, burgers, steak, and even spicy jerk chicken will develop a wonderful caramelization from grilling and will sink their teeth into the chocolate and coffee flavors and use the hop profile as an extra flavor depth. If you are looking to reverse this and have the hops shine through, lighter dishes such as coconut shrimp, salmon, or a lemon rubbed chicken will be good. Anything that has a strong citrus profile will bring forth the hops and use the chocolate and coffee flavors as a wonderful base. This beer is absolutely perfect for desserts, something not typical for many IPA’s. Coffee cake, German chocolate cake, carrot cake, tiramisu, and double chocolate brownies are perfect pairings with Mocha IPA.
The Final Word: Stone Brewing Co. is one of the leading breweries when it comes to IPAs. The brewery has expanded greatly since they first opened and now has a brewery in Germany and a second U.S. brewery in Richmond, Virginia. Along the way the brewery has not strayed from its mission of brewing aggressively full flavored beers. Mocha IPA is a true showcase beer for that mission statement. The melding of chocolate, coffee, and a hop forward IPA may sound very strange but the flavors work perfectly with one another. Do not shy away if the flavor profile seems odd. If IPAs are a favorite, this is a must try beer. The only question now is should this be consumed with breakfast or after dinner with dessert?
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Stone Brewing Co.
Beer: Mocha IPA
Style: American Double/ Imperial IPA
ABV: 9 %