Monday, December 12, 2011

Cucapa, Queretero And Calavera Brewing

This is the first set of Mexican craft beers that I've tasted after making a visit to The Beer Company. I plan to review as many as possible here and will use a gentle touch in the process. As this is a burgeoning industry I don't want to be too negatively critical in my opinion but simply state objectively what I'm tasting and experiencing.

I am pretty familiar with the classic beer styles and what characteristics define those styles in regards to the flavor, aroma, mouthfeel and visual aspects. I would like to evaluate the beers here based on this knowledge but I have to take into consideration the fact that for Mexico the craft beer movement is a new industry. Along with this fact it must be noted that there has been little exposure here to the foreign beer market and thus few classic beer styles available to compare to when brewing beers on a small scale that mimic the traditional qualities of the classics. So, for instance in the review below for Calavera brewing, when they seem to represent their beer as an abbey ale, I have to take that claim with some humility.

Cucapa Brewing's pale ale Called Chupacabras or goat sucker is a big malty ale with some dark fruit qualities like prune and raisin. It's sweet and has a perfume aroma that carries through into the flavor. There is a certain malt extract taste here but I questioned the brewery regarding this suspicion and they told me it is 100% malted grain. The color is amber with an off white head but be careful as the beer is bottle conditioned and there is a yeast sediment at the bottom that I prefer to avoid. This beer comes in at 5.8% abv. which is pretty substantial for pale ale in Mexico. It won a silver metal at the copa cerveza in Guadalajara in 2009.

Queretero Brewing's amber ale is up front caramel flavor and green apple. Thin in body this beer had a 'young' taste and a simple flavor profile or biscuit and light crystal malt. Low hop flavor with the exception of a very subtle, almost indiscernible pine. Again, this beer is bottle conditioned so use caution when decanting.

Is it a dubbel?

Calavera Brewing's Dubbel de Abadia or Dubbel of Abbey should not be confused with the classic Belgian dubbel. This is a bold beer with a robust malt presence and includes cold pressed coffee flavor and roasted grain with a very sweet finish. Smooth graininess with no hops in evidence. This beer is a nice clear amber color with little head and thin body. A pleasant drinkable beer but I can't consider it a dubbel and the yeast used does not provide any of the expected Belgian dubbel characteristics. Bottle conditioned this beer is 6.4% abv.

Cucapa and Calavera brewing companies have other styles of beer and I will review those in the future but first I want to work my way through some of the other breweries. If you're familiar with these beers and have an opinion, please make your thoughts know in the comment section below. Cheers!

1 comment:

Mark N said...

I watched a TV program back here in the UK about Chupacabras recently. Great to hear there's a beer named after such a beast - sounds like a good one too.

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