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  1. Working at a bottle shop this past few months as giving me perspective on how quick word can get out about a new beer and how quickly people will gobble it up. We haven't yet been open for Hopslam season or Kentucky Breakfast Stout time, but we've seen our occasional DogFish Head 120 case or some fresh Maine Lunch get bought out in an hour. Along with those standard limited runs, Stone's new collaboration Mocha Stout has been one of the fastest selling "new" beers I've seen. It started with a solid review from a California beer columnist, then a 97 from the crowd on Beer Advocate, a 95 from the Alstrom Brothers at the same site, then a 99 on RateBeer. We sold out of two cases within 48 hours, our second 2 cases over the next three days, and things have finally calmed down as we're halfway through our 6th case heading into the end of this week. To capitalize on the buzz, we also put a keg on for growler fills which should be kicked later this afternoon. After all the build up and hype though, this beer definitely underwhelmed me. It has a lot going on in it for sure, a nice coffee stout base with the addition of chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile peppers. They're mimicking a Mexican hot chocolate, according to the original home brewer's recipe. There's already a much more limited and well-made style of this beer in Westbrook's Mexican Cake Imperial Stout, and I can't help but see this as an admirable, just not as good, imitation. From the bottle into my glass I was overwhelmed with the cinnamon. It felt like it was sprinkled on dry and sitting on top of the drink, and 50% of the flavor of the first taste. After that it mellowed a bit, but I just couldn't get into as I drank down the bottle. The thinness of the base stout might be what's holding it back. Westbrook's is an imperial stout, which seems to hold up much better to all the added flavors. I do like to try the beers I sell, so I can give honest opinions, and my lack of enthusiasm for this one hasn't hurt our selling it at all. I did think putting it on tap what help people judge for themselves, and like most beers, I feel the taste improves when it was from the tap. I guess I'll swim against the tide on this one, but am curious as to what others think. I've definitely had repeat buyers and growler customers for it, so I'm happy to be in the minority if that's the case. We're retailing the 22oz bottles for $9.99, and I imagine you can find it anywhere you buy your craft beer.
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