Cerveza de los Muertos - Hop On Or Die
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):83
Serving Temperature:45-50° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Snifter, Pint Glass
Malts:2-Row Pale, Munich, Carapils, Caramel
Hops:Centennial, Cascade, Fuggle, Saaz, Golding, Willamette
This IPA of the dead presents a beautiful rich cooper color with crystal clarity and a big head of fluffy foam that laces nicely. On the nose, look for a complex aroma with lots of subtle touches including citrus and pine, floral notes, a little woodiness, and some toffee and caramel malt character. It's much the same in the flavor department, which delivers a big core of caramel and toffee with secondary bready notes. The hop profile is full of complexity here too, which is common when several different aroma hops are employed during brewing. We got big floral overtones with lemony citrus, incense and aromatic woods, earthy spice, and wisps of mint and grass. Bitterness is big at 83 IBUs, but there's enough residual malt sweetness here to provide a modicum of balance for this round, smooth, and full-bodied IPA. For food pairings, we'd recommend boldly-flavored foods that can stand up to the beer while complementing it. To go with the Mexican theme, a spicy serrano-studded ceviche would be at the top of our list, along with enchiladas drowned in a fiery red sauce. Cheers!
For thousands of years, the Aztecs and their forebears honored and celebrated the dead in an annual celebration. Originally a month-long festival, the tradition eventually merged with the Christian holiday period of All Hallows' Eve (Halloween), All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day, and culminates on November 2nd with Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Traditional ceremonies included using skeletal pieces of the deceased, usually the skull, with relatives placing native Aztec marigolds in the eye sockets as a reflection and remembrance of the person's life. Today, celebrants often build altars known as "ofrendas" which are adorned with flowers and decorated skulls made from sugar or clay, along with various gifts to the dead, such as favorite foods or drinks. Far from being a macabre or frightening holiday, the Day of the Dead is a festive holiday to celebrate life, with bright colors, painted faces, and music.
For most folks in the U.S., Mexican beer conjures images of pale, fizzy swill adorned with limes, but it's important to realize that the craft brewing renaissance that has swept the U.S. has spilled over to many other countries, and our neighbor to the south is no exception. A number of Mexican craft breweries and brewpubs have sprouted up in recent years, but, so far, few of them have reached the U.S. market. Cerveza de los Muertos, the Beer of the Dead, was created by a group of Mexican brewers who wanted to build a Mexican-owned, Mexican-brewed, and Mexican-themed craft beer brand that would succeed in the U.S., where appreciation for such artisanal beers is still far ahead of where it is currently in Mexico.
Cerveza de los Muertos is crafted by brewmaster Oswaldo Armenta, who graduated from the Mexican Institute of Technology and has been brewing professionally for over a decade and a half. Brewed originally at Cerveceria Mexicana in Tecate, Mexico, the beer arrived in the U.S. for the first time in 2013. Also brewed now at a sister brewery, Artesanas de Malta y Cebada (Artisans of Malt and Barley), several miles to the west in Tijuana, Cerveza de los Muertos now offers six craft beers including a blonde ale, hefeweizen, pale ale, IPA, amber ale, and porter. We're anxious to try their upcoming "Chocolatl" stout coming in the fall of 2018. The brand has been absent from the U.S. market for over a year, and we're excited to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of bringing these tasty beers to U.S. beer lovers once again. Salud!
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