It’s cold AF in New England this week, so we’re turning up the heat with the Mexican Cake—a stout brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon and habañero peppers from South Carolina’s Westbrook Brewing Company.
You may have heard of Westbrook through their work with Evil Twin Brewing—the two collaborate on a lot of brews, including previously windowsilled goodies such as Bible Belt and Bozo Beer—but they more than hold their own when it comes to making tasty beers.
The Mexican Cake is a prime example. It was originally released in January of 2012 to celebrate the brewery’s one-year anniversary. People dug it so much, that Westbrook now releases it every May. They have also released several barrel-aged versions, and have even released a few versions that combine the Mexican Cake with Evil Twin’s Break series. You hard core Windowsillers will recall that I had the Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break on the sill in May of 2017.
What can I say about this stout, other than that it’s delicious? All those ingredients are palpable in the beer, and the habañero kick at the end definitely warmed my throat, no matter how frigid the temperatures outside were. I may have waited several months to open the bottle—I got two for my birthday back in August—but I don’t think I’ll be waiting that long to open the second one!
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Let’s talk about the Lechuza. No, not the stout, the animal at the forefront of a pretty creepy Mexican leyenda. Lechuza means owl. The leyenda speaks of a witch named La Lechuza, for the shapeshifting powers that allowed her to turn herself into an owl. There are many origin stories for the leyenda, but one of them says that she is seeking revenge for the death of her child at the hands of a drunk. At the end of the night, she hangs out near bars, looking for the last drunk to walk out so she can take them. They’re never seen alive again. Interesting that the only people reporting this giant owl woman are the dudes closing out the bars, but i digress. She also steals children who are allowed to play alone at night, so be careful kiddies!
Now let’s talk about the La Lechuza S’more Stout. It’s a no-longer-in-production stout from Dallas, Texas’ Four Corners Brewing Company. It’s a dry stout brewed with cinnamon, graham crackers and chocolate malts (hence the S’mores). The aroma hits you with some good cocoa and cinnamon, like Mexican chocolate. Pretty chocolaty on the palate, too, with a little kick from the cinnamon. It’s not sweet, though, and only slightly creamy. Pretty solid brew for sitting around a campfire telling stories of La Lechuza! Check out how the can opens, too!
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It might not be Sunday where you are, but it is on my Windowsill!
I love a good Mexican stout, don’t you? Chocolate, cinnamon and chilli peppers? Yes, please! I’ve always been curious though. Why do stouts amalgamate so well with the intense flavors from the peppers? It’s all about the thick body. As Bon Appetít Magazine said, the malty backbone of the stout is simply strong enough to support it all. The sweetness of the higher ABV highlights the flavor of the peppers, while the creamy body acts like a fire extinguisher, suppressing enough of the heat to make the beer comfortable to drink. It’s the best of all worlds!
The Sunday Molé stout from Pennsylvania’s Weyerbacher Brewing Company takes the Mexican stout one step further, really capturing the flavors of traditional Mexican molé poblano. Coffee, chocolate, heat and smokiness were what I needed from this brew, and those flavors were definitely playing a Ranchera on my tastebuds. This stout has it all: cocoa powder, cacao nibs; ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle peppers; and the cinnamon kick that brings it all together. Really liked this one!
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