National Beer Day, huh? Let’s be honest, do we really need an excuse to drink (good) beer? I prefer my excuse to be that after a quarter of the year, I really am sticking with my New Beer Resolutions! As part of my promises, I vowed to get out to the fledgling Ashburn, VA scene (which includes Lost Rhino in addition to Old Ox), and made my second such excursion this past weekend. In my first visit to Old Ox I mentioned a phenomenal beer as part of their “One Off Wednesdays” which, after tentatively being titled “Mexican Hot Chocolate” had been relabeled Kristin’s Passion when I visited just two days later. In short, I was told not to expect that beer to stick around long due to its high brewing costs, so imagine my surprise when they’ve got some bombers for sale a few months later! Yes please, thank you drive through.
Kristin’s Passion, Old Ox Brewery (Ashburn, VA) – @OldOxBrewery
Mexican/Chocolate Porter, ABV 6.0%, IBU 25
Presentation: Bottle pour into a tulip pint glass.
Appearance: Very dark brown approaching black, with touches of red just cheating through the top and bottom (see second picture below for comparison). A medium head dissipated quickly, and the only lattice was made of residuals from letting the pour sit for a few minutes for pictures.
Taste: With the description still being a “Mexican Hot Chocolate Porter,” I’m happy to say the actual beer in no way disappoints. Easier detected by wafting towards your nose rather than lingering over top the glass, some dark cacao aromas are balanced by a hint of both sweet and spicy notes in the body. The bottle suggests espresso, cinnamon, and red chile in the flavor as well as the earthy chocolate, but I only really detected the pepper and espresso as a touch of zest/bitterness in the finish. Granted, it was also brewed with vanilla beans so that takes quite a bit of bite out of some otherwise assertive ingredients. Otherwise this is a very full-bodied but balanced Porter.
ABV/IBU: Every part of this beer screams drinkability. A bit of bitterness but that’s more from the espresso than the hops.
Overall: So this isn’t exactly the “one off” experimental beer I’d had before. That version was very powerfully imbued with flavor, and I had no problem picking out vanilla, hickory, (what seemed like) cumin and smoked paprika, etc. while coming in at 20 IBU. This production version chimes in at 25 IBU, and the flavors are a bit more mellow before we even get to the mention of espresso. I will say one thing though – whether this is version 1b or 2.0, it’s still a home run. I happily recommend that if you find one of these bombers that you snatch it up and pair it with some nachos or a burrito, because the deluge of flavor is simply fantastic.