For trends, sticking out among the many fruit-aged IPAs and coffee beers, we saw four mole stouts and porters, inspired by rich mole poblano sauce. Chocolate does play nice with oft-chocolatey dark-roasted malts used in these beers, and pairing that with various hot peppers and, for some breweries, vanilla and/or cinnamon, makes for a quality winter ale. We thoroughly enjoyed Iron Bird's bourbon-aged take, but for heat alone, Littleton's Locavore Beer Works sticks out with a restrained but still fiery use of ghost peppers.
Speaking of porters, Bristol has announced the release date for this year's Smokebrush porter. This tenth-annual event will take place on Thursday, March 2. Per usual, all proceeds go to benefit the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts. This year's label was designed by Smokebrush executive director Don Goede. Expect live music by Crystal and Curious, The Kinnikinniks, and Bob Tudor.