Firestone Walker unveils ‘Molé Merkin’ Variant on Barrel-Aged Milk Stout

Firestone Walker Brewing (recently named one of the most essential U.S. breweries) has announced Molé Merkin, a spicy variant of Velvet Merkin barrel-aged milk stout. FW just last week announced the Coconut Merlin rotator of the non barrel-aged version of their milk stout.

More from a press release:

Molé Merkin begins rolling out to all Firestone Walker markets this week in individually boxed 12-ounce bottles. It is the fourth out of five Proprietor’s Vintage releases slated for 2019. 

Barrel Program Manager Eric Ponce drew upon his own Mexican heritage to create Molé Merkin. Inspired by family recipes inherited from his grandmothers, Ponce aged the beer in bourbon barrels with additions of Puya chile peppers, cocoa nibs and cinnamon to capture the essence of the traditional Mexican sauce known as molé. 

The cinnamon adds a hint of sweet spice, while the cocoa nibs bring luscious balance to the medium lingering heat of the peppers. The result is a smooth, chocolaty stout with its own distinctive kick.

“Fall is a perfect time of year to enjoy Molé Merkin,” Ponce said. “It offers these warming spices that really go with the cooling weather and vibes of autumn.”

Ponce chose Velvet Merkin as the base beer because it was the perfect foil for the style he envisioned: “As a milk stout, it has this creaminess that evokes the creamy texture of molé. It also has chocolate notes that play really well with the cocoa nibs and cinnamon.”

“This beer has a lot of personal meaning behind it,” Ponce said. “Every time I taste it, it brings back childhood memories of family dinners and gatherings, where molé dishes were a staple. It’s that sense of joy and flavor that I wanted to convey with Molé Merkin.” 

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Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located on the coast of California. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings. For more information:

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: