One of the joys of returning home to the US is the variety of beer. Sure, I found some good imported beer in Taipei, but not like I’ve found here.

There isn’t a great selection in my hometown, unless I head to Wegman’s. But I can still go back to Jersey City for better variety–there are even stores that allow me to create my own 6-pack so I can try six different beers.

Stone Xocoveza
Here’s a bottle I picked up in Taipei

But there’s one beer I’ve gone back to since returning home: Stone Xocoveza.

I first tried this beer a couple years ago in Taipei–it was a bit more expensive there, but still worth buying a few times. I had it again last year at Barcade in Jersey City when I visited home from Thanksgiving.

Xocoveza is Stone Brewing’s take on Mexican hot chocolate in beer form. How could you go wrong with that? Ok, I’m sure there are brewers that could turn this into something awful, but Stone is not a brewer known for making anything bad. It’s has an overall rating of 99 on RateBeer.com and 4.34/5 on BeerAdvocate.com. Those ratings don’t mean much to me other than to confirm my own opinion.stone xocoveza

This mocha stout comes in at 8.1% ABV, so it’s by no means a light drink. Yet, it’s smooth and delightful, without a hint of booziness. You don’t notice the alcohol content because of all the rich flavors that are masterfully blended in this beer.

It’s a great beer to let warm up a bit. As it reaches closer to room temperature, the flavors become more pronounced. There’s wonderful dark chocolate and coffee that are the most recognizable flavors and aromas. But deeper down there’s a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. There’s also some┬ápasilla peppers mixed in there, but I didn’t notice any of that.

This is a rich, flavorful beer for the dark winter months. It’s well worth picking up a 6-pack or more to enjoy. It tastes so much like a great blend of hot cocoa and coffee (after it’s been in the fridge a while) that I’ve taken to sipping it as if it were a cup of cocoa.

Have you tried Xocoveza? What did you think?

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