Especialidades Cerveceras - Casta Castaña
- ABV: 8.0-8.5%
- Malts: Base malts, caramel, chocolate, and wheat malts
- Hops: East Kent Golding
One of the really exciting things about my job is not just enjoying the beers that I hunt down, but seeing how the beer renaissance – or, if you like, the beer revolution – has spread. It began in Britain in a quiet sort of way, and really took off in the United States, certainly the most exciting country for beer. It has been for quite some time.
But it’s also spread to some other countries. Who would have ever thought that we would have some really big, flavorful beers coming out of Mexico?
Three or four years ago I discovered the Casta Brewery in Monterrey, a new micro making at that time a wheat beer, a golden ale, and a dark ale rather along the lines of a Scottish ale. It is exciting to see a new brewery like that emerge. But it’s also exciting to see it fight its early struggles in a country where people are used to the very light tasting beers that you tend to get in that country, and readily establish itself and actually increase its range.
I was stunned when they came out with a Belgian abbey-style beer a few years ago. Now they have come out with a dark version of that, and a with a little pun on the name of the brewery. This beer is called Castaña, which if I remember rightly means chestnut, or chestnut tree.
This is 8.6% alcohol by volume, so if we were talking about Scottish ales this is a Wee Heavy. But that doesn’t sound right for Monterrey, Mexico. I think Castaña is a great name.
Their regular brown ale, which was called Morena, had a lot of plum-y and orange-y flavors. I get similar notes on the nose of this one. More nutty, sort of deep fudge, chocolate fudge cake. This is some delicious beer, liquid fudge cake with Pedro Ximenez sherry behind it. I’ve sometimes said that Russian Imperial Stout has a Pedro Ximenez character, and people say that it’s no good to get such fancy descriptors when they don’t know what Pedro Ximenez sherry tastes like. Hey, go out and buy some. It’s alright to have the product of the grape occasionally. It’s never going to be as good as beer. But we should be eclectic and try other drinks, too.
Maybe not right now. Maybe for the moment I’ll stick to the Castaña. Am I getting chestnuts in there? There is a sort of chestnut-y taste, too. The French make the rich, terribly sweet chestnut dessert, marron glace, love it or hate it. I like flavors that are love it or hate it types, whether in food, beer, or whisky. I like food and drink that knows its own mind. I don’t have much time for food and drink that tries to be all things to all men. Those never seem exciting.
How about this beer with pecan pie? I know that I always seem to finish by suggesting some sort of food pairing, but you don’t have to have that food. But you can’t drink the beer alone, and I just try to extend the possibilities. It’s an excuse to try something new, and if you don’t need any excuse, then leave it alone. This is another good one. Let me know what you think about it.
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