Tag Archives: 5 Rabbit

Beer Passport — 3 Sheeps Cashmere Sweater and 5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte

Our Beer Passport program is one of the ways that we try to introduce our patrons to specific beers. With our passport selections, we want to introduce

  • hard to find beers, one offs (beers brewed one time only) or new beers from brewers we love
  • seasonal beers that we don’t want you to miss
  • something crazy you might not try otherwise (like last year’s Bare Bear from Off-Color – had you ever even heard of the sahti style?)
  • beers that demonstrate the creativity of craft brewers
  • beers from newer or up and coming brewers.

With 1.5 new breweries opening every day, it’s impossible to try everything and it’s hard to know which beers are worth your time. We try hundreds of beers a year (and our distributors try even more than us!) in order to find excellent beers to serve. From time to time we like to use the passport program to introduce you to a core offering from a newer brewer or a brewer that we love. That’s why last week we had Fractal IPA from Penrose Brewing co. (a core offering from a newer brewer and rising star in the Chicago beer scene), and that’s why this week we are highlighting 3 Sheeps Cashmere Sweater Rye Stout on Nitro.

If you’ve been in The Pub in the last week and a half, you have probably seen this beer on our menu board. You may have even tried to order it. Unfortunately we’ve had some problems with one of our Nitro taps and had to turn a lot of people down. (I know, sad, right?) The problem is fixed, and so now we want as many people as possible to try this great beer. This brewer has only been around since 2012, and you may or not have had anything from them. Now’s your chance.

This beer is brewed specifically with nitrogenation in mind. For the unfamiliar, almost all beer is carbonated (meaning CO2 is added), like soda. Some beers, however, are nitrogenated (meaning NO2 is added). Guinness is the most common example. Nitrogen dioxide in beer provides much smaller bubbles than carbon dioxide, and the effects can be dramatic. First, the head is much creamier, so much so that the telltale wonder of a Nitro beer is the cascading that happens when you pour it. Unlike a carbonated beer, you don’t want to pour the beer gently into the glass. Second, the beer has an overall creamier body or mouthfeel. Third, comparing a nitro version of a beer with a non-nitro version reveals an incredible impact on flavor as well. If you tried Founders Rubaeus when we had it on nitro, then you surely noticed how much brighter and upfront the raspberry flavor was in the nitro version. Nitro can accentuate the subtle flavors of a beer and offset the aggressive, bitter flavors. Fifth, the aroma, or nose, of a nitro beer is subtler, as it’s harder for the aromas to penetrate the nitro head.

Cashmere Hammer was brewed specifically as a Nitro beer. To this end, the brewer started with Rye, which is often used in small quantities in a variety of beers for a spicy, dry effect. Too much rye can leave a beer feeling and tasting harsh, so it’s an ingredient that requires a master’s hand and an artisan’s creativity. This beer starts with the qualities of rye in mind and is designed to play with them in unexpected ways. The rye provides the boldness to punch through the nitro head for aroma, and the subtlety of the rye emerges as the harshness is palliated by the nitrogenation. The result (as with any good nitro beer) is a velvety smooth body, which is complemented by subtle rye flavor that lacks the aggressiveness typical of rye beers. (As an aside, the aggressiveness of rye can make it a great complement for the hoppy bitterness of an IPA, as in Founders Red’s Rye IPA or Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger.) The beer doesn’t disappoint the stout lovers either. This beer pours opaque and has the classic chocolate/coffee notes of a great stout. Rounding it out is a subtle dry finish.

As a bonus, we are also giving passport stamps for 5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte. We tapped this beer for Dia de los Muertos on Monday. Victor and Jody are in love with this beer. This beer is so good and so interesting, that one patron, when sipping a friend’s exclaimed, “I don’t like beer very much. I’d drink this over a cider!” Seriously – this beer is awesome.

The beer begins with a certain familiarity to those who enjoy Oktoberfest beers at The Pub. That’s because it’s loosely based on the traditional Oktoberfest märzen style. If that’s all there were to this beer, it wouldn’t be worth a passport selection. But, like Dia de los Muertos itself, this beer is a fusion of cultural influences typical of 5 Rabbit. Mexican beer is hugely influenced by the German brewing tradition, making the selection of a märzen style a fun beginning.

The next thing you’ll notice is the rich, caramel overtones. Dulce de leche (popular throughout Latin America) brings a delicate carameliness to the beer. This is the second way that the beer is in harmony with Dia de los Muertos, a holiday that combines pre-colonial and Spanish Catholic religious traditions to create something unique to the New World.

Finally, the middle, transitioning to the finish, is accented by two subtle additions. A touch of milk sugar, which is unfermentable, adds a very slight sweetness. This gives way to the specially chosen spices to create a delicate spiciness and imparts a coziness that is surprising in a beer.

Topping off the cultural fusion that is synonymous with 5 Rabbit and Dia de los Muertos, 5 Rabbit calls this style, “müerzen,” a clever bilingual pun that makes a word nerd like very happy.

Finally, from the 5 Rabbit description of the beer:

Vida y Muerte es nuestra cerveza para el Día de los Muertos. Una mezcla de tradicion católica y pre-colonial, que más que un recordatorio sombrío de la muerte, es una celebración de vida.

Enjoy one or both of these beers as tonight’s passport selection and collect up to two stamps.

5 Rabbit Gran Missionario 2015

From the brewer’s description:

“Gran Missionario celebrates the intersection of cultures that occurred in the missions set up all along the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Wheat and muscat wine grapes were among the plants brought over from Spain, being tasty as well as essential for church services.

Flaked wheat and oats add a rich creaminess to our base beer, substantial at 6.8% alc/vol. To that we add muscat of Alexandria, an “aromatic” grape grown at the Spanish missions. They have a perfumy, spicy quality that punches through the wheat and malt flavors. . . . [F]igs, which were brought to San Diego in 1760 . . . add a deep caramelly fruitiness to this dry and creamy beer.”

“Craft beer” is an interesting term. Technically, it’s just about production and ownership (more on this in another post). But the term evokes in the laymen something that is inherent in modern American beer brewing – creativity. Those familiar with German beer likely know about Reinheitsgebot – the Bavarian purity law of 1516 restricting the ingredients of beer to barley, hops, and water (with yeast being added to the law once it was understood what it did). Reinheitsgebot led, among other things, to the popularity of Pilsners in Bavaria and Light Lagers. This influence can be seen in the macrobrews dominating American beer, with Pilsners and Light Lagers dominating (though these come nowhere close to adherence to Reinheitsgebot, depending as they do on cheaper adjuncts like corn or rice for fermentable sugars).

All this serves as useful background for understanding what it is that craft brewers are attempting. Craft brewers are like chefs, with different philosophies, different influences, and different goals when it comes to palate manipulation. 5 Rabbit’s Gran Missionario highlights both the goals and influences of this particular brewer, but it also exemplifies the nature and spirit of American Craft Beer (if not the peak of the trends) and its similarities with creative cuisine.

First, note the use of certain traditional methods and ingredients. Despite the restriction on grain types in the Reinheitsgebot, wheat was widely employed in Europe (and especially Northern Germany) in beer making. Oats also had a long tradition in beer making. Moreover, how much more traditional do you want than using Belgian yeasT?

Second, note the creative use of additional ingredients. Grape must made from muscat of Alexandria grapes? If you don’t know wine, you probably don’t even understand the question! Grape must is freshly pressed juice containing seeds, stems, and skin of the fruit, and muscat of Alexandria is a white wine grape of ancient heritage. Wine grapes in beer? And what about figs? Nothing screams beer to me less than figs!

Third, the creativity is not just creative use of ingredients for the sake of being flashy (though that happens too!), but instead is meant to make an impact around a theme. This is where the influence of cuisine comes in. 5 Rabbit tries to celebrate Latin American culture and cuisine. This beer specifically is inspired by the missions that were a critical part of life in colonized Latin America (including California). So the wine and figs are not just there to be crazy and avant-garde. They evoke a heritage with twists and turns and various levels of absorption into this crazy place called America.

As you drink this beer, you’ll notice the grape must is let the beer linger on your tongue. The body is thicker than a lot of beers, and to me this is evocative of both the figs and of certain white wines (though I promise I know nothing of wine in earnest). There’s a sweetness that masks any of the bitterness of the beer (only 25 IBUs anyway), and a haziness that makes me feel like I just poured a nice juice.

So we are pouring 5 Rabbit Gran Missionario 2015, a double wheat with muscat of Alexandria grape must and mission figs as our beer passport this week to highlight the creative drive and the cultural influences that are possible in thoughtful American craft brewing. This beer highlights what is right with American brewing right now. So grab some tacos, a burrito, or an empanada, and enjoy a glass of this fine beer before it’s all gone.

Beer Passport Kickoff — 5 Rabbit: Chinga Tu Pelo!

Tonight kicks off our quarterly beer passport. This is our opportunity to show off. We pride ourselves on having a robust and intriguing draft list.  But our Beer Passport picks are always something special that we want to be make sure you’ve tried.  They’re a little funky, a little special, a new release, something hard to find, or a great beer from an up-and-coming brewery we’re excited about.  Follow us on twitter [@UofCPub] to find out each Wednesday’s pick or look for more information on this blog. Of course, you can always just come in on Wednesdays and ask for the beer passport selection.

To participate:  Come by on Wednesdays the 1st-10th week of the quarter and order our Beer Passport selection.  Be sure to request a passport—for the laudable achievement of obtaining at least 8 stamps in a quarter, we will bestow upon you a t-shirt to commemorate your accomplishment. If you get all the way to 10, we’ll also give you a pint glass. Cool, huh?

We already have the pint glasses and the T-shirts designed, and they should be in within a couple of weeks.

So we couldn’t thing of a better way to start this year’s passport program than with a beer from America’s original (and only) Latin American inspired brewery: 5 Rabbit Cerveceria’s Chinga Tu Pelo.

Chinga Tu Pelo5rabbitOnce you get to the end of this blog post, I hope it’s clear why it’s our first passport selection. So 5 Rabbit, let’s start with 5 words:

Donald. Trump. Running. For. President.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, he insulted a lot of his business partners.

After making some colorful comments about Mexican immigrants (okay, Ivanka, I hear you. He insulted “illegal Mexican immigrants.” How exactly does that make it better?)

We aren’t into politics here at The Pub, so what does this have to do with beer, you ask? Well, Chicago Brewer 5 Rabbit Cerveceria had a contract to brew an exclusive beer for Trump Tower’s Rebar in Chicago. The problem for Trump is that Andrés Araya,  accomplished businessman, all around good guy, and co-owner and founder of 5 Rabbit is a Costa Rican immigrant who planned his brewery while living in Mexico. Moreover, 5 Rabbit is a brewery inspired by and dedicated to the creativity of Latin American culture. I’ll let Andrés explain:

“We would be doing an injustice to the community we serve (and live in) by engaging in business with someone who does not accept our role in society and expresses a rhetoric of hate and ignorance towards us” (Araya in a letter to WBEZ in Chicago)

So 5 Rabbit cut ties with Trump Tower and Trump. But let’s be honest, no self-respecting brewer is pouring out quality beer that represents a lot of creativity and hard work, the same hard work that Trump said Mexican immigrants weren’t engaged in. 5 Rabbit reportedly had 50 barrels or so left in the warehouse, and after a brainstorming session (and a few conversations with lawyers, no doubt), they settled on renaming the beer, “Chinga tu pelo!” which translates to, “F*$% your hair!” All the barrels were gone almost immediately. (For the record, when I told Victor and Hector about the new name of this beer, they lost it.)

But fear not dear pub dwellers! They brewed one more batch, and The Pub has a keg. Trump is concerned about immigrants not having a valid passport, so we thought it only fitting to say, “Chinga tu pelo!” as we give you a passport and stamp it to kick off the year.

So what’s the beer like? It’s a Golden Ale coming in at 3.5% ABV, so it’s really easy drinking. If you are new to craft beer, then this is a great choice because Golden/Blonde ales tend to be very approachable and can highlight what you’re missing if all you drink is American macrobrews. So grab a pint. Get your passport, and get on your way to that free pub t-shirt. Oh, and we won’t let “the Donald” kick you out of The Pub.