My "Twelve Beers of Christmas" fun from Midtowne Bottle Shop (Harrisonburg, VA) continues with Stone Xocoveza, a holiday/New Year stout brewed with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, Stone is among the top ten largest craft brewers in the United States. With several locations in California, Stone are now embarking upon eastern expansion with a brewery in Richmond, VA and another in Berlin, Germany. While I know them most for Arrogant Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard, their Pale Ale is considered to be their flagship brew.
Behind door #2: Stone Xocoveza, Mocha Stout, 8.1% alc., 12 oz. bottle
N: The coffee and chocolate are to the front with unmistakeable hot pepper notes (redolent of Mexican hot chocolate -- by design) beyond them
P: Damp earth, dark roast coffee and cocoa nib bitterness to the front, then a bit marshmallowy around the middle, with some of the pepper heat (very subtle) presenting itself towards the back
F: Long with lingering chocolate and pepper notes (flavor not heat) that continue to bounce off of one another
In conclusion: Given the number of additional components there's a fear that it will come off as a hodgepodge of flavors. However, this is Stone we're talking about and all the flavors balance one another beautifully. It's a surprisingly easy drinker for a big, celebration beer with a long lasting finish. And as an added bonus, as the beer sits in the glass and warms a bit the flavor profile sings ever louder.