Action Figures & Their Beers -- She Stoops to Cocoa

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2021-10-15, 10:39:12

DuCLAW'S THE PASTRYARCHY MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE BROWN ALE

My wife and I were out and about recently, when we stopped a nice (but pricey) local country store not far from our house. And they had lots and lots of beer. But most of the beers were either IPAs, Double IPAs, or Hazy Sours, or the usual bland horsepiss like Bud Light, Coors Light, Natty Light, and similar. They only had a small section of real ales, stouts, and porters. And amongst them was today's featured item.

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Now, before I get into the beer, let's talk about why I chose the action figure partner I did. It's the new-ish TransFormers War for Cybertron: Kingdom version of Airazor. Why this figure? Well, the Mexican flag has a predatory bird on it -- opinions vary as to whether it's meant to be a golden eagle (Mexico's national bird) or a crested caracara (the bird the Aztecs credit with the divine omen telling them where to found their captial city, Tenochtitlan). The closest I have to either of those birds in my collection is Airazor, who turns into a peregrine falcon . . . except her wings aren't quite the right shape. They're a bit too broad and rounded to really look like a falcon's wings, and a bit too narrow and pointy to really look like an eagle's. (They re-used this mould to make the Maximal Skywarp, who turns into a bald eagle, and he doesn't look quite right, either.) Other than that quibble, she's a pretty darned nifty figure of a kick-arse character that sorely needed an update. Moving on . . . .

The DuClaw Brewing Company of Baltimore, Maryland -- whose Dirty Little Freak I recently rave-reviewed here -- apparently has a dessert-themed line called "The PastryArchy." DuClaw's website lists more than twenty different PastryArchy brews, but at the store where I found this, there were only two kinds to choose from: the Mexican Hot Chocolate Brown Ale, and an Oatmeal Cream Pie Imperial Honey Wheat Ale. I eeny-meenied, and ended up going home with the Mexican Hot Chocolate Brown Ale, Edition #15 Limited Release.

On the subject of this beer, DuClaw's own website sez:

"Release Date: January 4

Originating in Mexico, hot chocolate has evolved as its been adopted all over the world. This brown ale is a nod an early iteration of the traditional favorite, made with a bit of spice, deep chocolate, & lactose. (Oh, and drink it cold. The ‘hot’ refers to the spice, not the temp!)

STYLE: Brown Ale.

COLOR: Brown.

HOP VARIETY: Chinook and Golding.

GRAINS: Pilsner, Munich, Honey, Crystal 60, Chocolate Wheat, Roasted Barley, & Corn."

That's all the website has to say. The can additionally provides: 16 fluid ounces / 1 pint [Beedo's Aside: except pints should be a full Imperial 20 ounces, because it means more beer], 7% ABV, and "Brown ale brewed with cane sugar, lactose, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and cocoa powder."

If you just drink this straight out of the can, you won't get the full effect. You either need to pour it out into a glass, or slowly turn the can over a couple of times before opening it, to get the flavours all stirred up and blending. It's decently spicy, and catches you in the back of the throat -- nothing that will make smoke come out of your ears, but enough to let you know they've spiced things up a bit with this brew. It's chocolatey in that fudgey, Tootsie-Roll-ish kind of way that a lot of "chocolate" beers are these days -- so if you like those, you'll like this one, too.

And overall, it's . . . nice. I'm having a hard time trying to saying anything else about it. Not because it isn't good, because it is. It's just that I'm still attempting to pin down what it's trying for. Neither of the ingredients lists mention chili peppers, but the heat seems too intense to come from cinnamon alone. The flavour seems a tad too strong and spicy to be the modern version of Mexican hot chocolate, but not hot and smoky enough to be the Mayan / Aztec recipe. It's not creamy enough to be the modern kind, and too creamy to be ancient variety. Perhaps that's what they mean by "an early iteration" -- somewhere in the evolution of the beverage that's a missing link between Mayan or Aztec xocolatl and modern Mexican champurrado.

Would I buy this again? Definitely. But I'd like to try some of the other kinds of PastryArchy brews, first, if possible.

Would I recommend this ale? Absolutely. It's delicious, and a wonderful change of pace from the usual workaday, barnyard-urine brewskis and insufferably smug IPAs that are everywhere, these days.

Is this a good beer to relax with? Not really. It grabs you by the throat and demands your attention, asserting that it doesn't have to show you any stinking badges. If you're looking for something intense and flavour-blasted to perk you up, though, it will do nicely.

Drink this if you also like: Chocolate, cinnamon, Tootsie Rolls, champurrado, xocolatl, brown ales, stouts, spiced beers, rich beers.





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