No Corporate Beer Reviews: Cocoa Bolo Coconut Brown

Beer: Cocoa Bolo Coconut Brown
Brewery: Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC)
Style: Brown Ale – American
5.6% ABV / 20 IBU

You’ve been holding out on us, guys. Where was this delightful potion at this year’s Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Philly? Or last year’s? Burial’s Bolo Coconut Brown Ale is the one coconut beer to rule them all; Cocoa Bolo kicks it up a scotch with the addition of French broad cocoa nibs, making for a brew that drinks like a Mounds bar. Burial’s execution with Cocoa Bolo is particularly deft – it’s a full-bodied beer, but solidly in the mid-ABV range, with a perfect amount of carbonation and a smooth, velvety finish.

If anything, the coconut flavors are fairly muted here. The most obvious point of comparison is Kona Brewing Company’s Koko Brown, a similarly-styled American Brown Ale also made with real toasted coconut. “Pleasant notes” or “familiar aura” is probably par for the course, and what’d you ultimately want from a coconut-flavored beer that isn’t an overly sweet stout. For a brown ale, being able to actual taste the malt and the hops—Willamette and Simcoe in this brew—is pretty crucial.

Cocoa Bolo noticeably pours with a deep brown color, typically reserved for oatmeal stouts and Baltic porters—a darker hue than most American Brown Ales. This is likely due to the introduction of cocoa nibs in the brewing process. The nose is intensely chocolate-y, like a cocoa porter, but Cocoa Bolo offers a more balanced flavor profile: sweetness and bitterness do a delicate pas-de-deux on your palette. The description on the can (“There was once a path of subtlety. And now we give it excess.”) is actually ironic; Cocoa Bolo doesn’t offer the extreme collision of flavors and styles envisioned by Burial, but it’s a subtle and pleasing combination, produced with an expert touch.

More more info, check out Burial Beer Co. here.