Peppermint Hot Cocoa Might Meets Right | Temperance Brewing
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Temperance Brewing’s Might Meets Right series always seems to fly under the radar. Their first two entries in the series still remain unique to this day – one aged in High West Manhattan barrels and the other in Boulevardier barrels. The Boulevardier even won a bronze at the 2014 FoBAB (the first at the UIC Forum).
Those first bottles came out in January 2015. In bombers. No adjuncts. Temperance did get the rarity right (or wrong?) on one of them, with less than 100 bottles of the Boulevardier. They quickly pivoted, releasing Might Meets Right in cans and with variants (Heaven HIll, Coffee Maple, Bramble, and ¡La Sorpresa!) for the first time in 2017. Since then, only the ¡La Sorpresa! has been released every year, with other variants coming and going or existing as taproom-only exclusives first.
Peppermint Hot Cocoa Might Meets Right began its journey in this way. Temperance released a Hot Cocoa Might Meets Right in 2019. On tap they put out a Peppermint Hot Cocoa version. In what turned out to be one of my last brewery taproom experiences, I attempted to get a crowler of it for a party at ABV Chicago logo artist Matthew LaFleur’s home. No dice. Since it was tap only and only made, like 2 kegs of it, no crowlers. But I liked it enough to ask for it.
Temperance must’ve listened to the public, as Peppermint Hot Cocoa became one of the four Might Meets Right for 2020, along with ¡La Sorpresa!, Bramble, and High West. Mixed 4-packs are available, so I got to try one of each, but my eye was on that Peppermint Hot Cocoa. Does it hold up to the taproom-only I had in 2019?
Peppermint Hot Cocoa (PHC) Might Meets Right (MMR) pours a caramel brown color with little to no head. Some lovely crimson tones highlight the beer. It looks like a beer and moves like a beer, but will it take like one? Before we get there, peppermint fills the room. But not a candy cane peppermint; this one veers closer to mint. Chocolate and some booze notes round out the big aromas. Vanilla, oak and even some caramel show up in trace amounts as you keep smelling. But make no mistake – peppermint and chocolate domainte. Aromatically it reminds me of either an Andes mint or Thin Mint girl scout cookies. Good things to remind me of, but those are both sweet.
The peppermint usually makes or breaks the beer. It’s a hard one to get right, as too much moves it to toothpaste flavors and too little means it shouldn’t be named on the package. I’m not privy to how exactly the peppermint was added, but whatever Temperance did they nailed it. The peppermint comes at you hard and fast but it never becomes overbearing or toothpaste-like. It actually floats above the palate and refreshes your mouth more than anything else. Some chocolate arrives next followed by caramel, vanilla and bourbon.
That chocolate comes right as the peppermint begins to leave and hang around your mouth, giving it the sensation of an Andes/thin mint. Nothing stays around terribly long, as the carbonation stays in the medium range. Most importantly, PHC MMR remains a beer throughout. It never veers toward pastry stout territory in being too sweet. You get peppermint, chocolate and the rest and it finishes like a beer. Great stuff.
So how does it compare to the tap-only from last year? It’s very similar in most regards, except the taproom-only version had a bit more chocolate on the palate and a little less barrel. But neither version was too sweet. I preferred the taproom version, but I will definitely get this again either this year or in subsequent years.
While good that MMR is now getting released in December, this peppermint hot cocoa version screams to be drunk during the full month of December. An earlier release would assist in that. But hey in January and February snow still falls and temperatures do move to negative territory, making Peppermint Hot Cocoa Might Meets Right one of your better options for a flavorful and warming experience. Wonder if warming it up makes it even better?