Beer Beer Beer

Beer of the Week: Mocha Stout From Big Bear Brewing Co.

Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie

will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:

How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find

it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer

you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.

For those who don't know, Big Bear Brewing Co. is Broward's only independently owned and operated brewpub, a place where inventive beers are handcrafted in house by Brewmaster Matt Cox. Well, just this past week, Cox unveiled his latest creation, a Mocha Stout he'd been working on for more than a month.

So what makes this pint of black so special? To start with, Cox used

some roasty chocolate malts to build a rich base. He went light on the

hops (but at 30 IBUs, not too light) so that they wouldn't interfere

with the bitter flavors of chocolate and coffee. Then, after

fermentation, he let the beer sit on 30 pounds of dark chocolate nibs

for a week, soaking up all that wonderfully deep cocoa. About ten pots

of Jamaican Blue Mountain espresso later, the mocha stout was born.

Now, I frequently preach about the bad-assitude of Big Bear's beers.

But, my God, this stout is special. It pours like a vat of molten

chocolate syrup. Thick clouds of burnished bronze swirl and bubble up

as it sets into a head as thick as whipped cream. The body too is

creamy thanks to a dose of lactose in the brew. It's not overly oily or

syrupy; rather, the coffee provides just enough slickness to make it

drinkable without weighing it down.

What it tastes like is something resembling a piece of molten chocolate

cake made potable, only here there's so much more backbone instead of

just unrelenting sweetness. And at 7 percent alcohol, it's big

enough to let you know it's not a kid's beer without knocking you from

the barstool.

The only thing I can say is run out to Big Bear and get a taste of this bad boy while it's on. You don't want to miss it.

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John Linn