Don Quixote and the Mexican Cake

Mexican Cake Beer

Mexican Cake Beer @ Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

Here at Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor we are on a never ending quest, it seems, to find the most interesting and remarkable beers in the world. Sometimes we’ll bring a great beer from far away lands like New Zealand or Sri Lanka; conversely, we often find great gems in our backyard from local brewers in Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island and yes, even New Jersey.  All this being said, the term “remarkable” really means a great deal to us at ACBP.  As Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza battled many a windmill in search of the impossible dream, we wade through streams of uninteresting industrial lagers and fly-by-night trendy brews that are far more hype than substance.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it… and we’ve done it, time and time again. It’s our thing.

Truly world class beer isn’t easy to get your hands on, and it certainly ain’t cheap!  But for the true beer aficionado, money and time are simply commodities. The “Get” is the prize! Whether you’re looking for a super fresh double IPA from Vermont that should be drunk out of the can within a few days of release, or you’re trying to acquire a rare Flanders Foederbeir for your home cellar… this compulsion of the Beer Epicure is palpable and real. If you can relate with what I just said, then you are one of us. Welcome!

Westbrook Brewing Company in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, makes one of these truly remarkable beers, and those who have become familiar with Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor over the years look forward to the month of June like a child anticipates Christmas. Why June? Because that’s when we get the Mexican Cake!

If you’ve never heard of Mexican Cake, you’re probably thinking, “what the hell is it?” In the simplest of terms, it’s a spicy chocolate stout… but it would be criminal to describe this ambrosial delight in simple terms, so let’s break it down. To celebrate their first year as a brewery in 2011, owner and head brewer Edward Westbrook decided to create a serious imperial stout and aged it on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habañero peppers. At 10.5% ABV, you wouldn’t even notice the alcohol content as your mouth is overwhelmed with layers of chocolate flavors, raw vanilla and freshly grated cinnamon… but then there is the finish. And OH, what a finish. At first, it’s a subtle sensation of capsaicin on the back of your tongue. Nothing crazy, just a hint that there is some pepper in there to make your drinking experience interesting. However, with each sip you take, the greater the intensity of the habañero until your mouth is on fire and you’re sweating bullets like you’re at a Mexican standoff!

If this sounds like too much for your taste buds to handle, no worries. Plenty of beer geeks will happily take your place in line. In fact, some bottles of this rare brew have been traded or sold for as much as $900!  Half of the annual batch goes into direct distribution, and the rest… well that’s up to Edward to decide; however, it typically ends up being barrel-aged in something amazing like rum, tequila, bourbon or even maple syrup.

Of the 120 barrels released to the public, much of it is bottled in 22 ounce “Bombers.” A limited amount ends up in sixtel kegs - just over 5 gallons,  Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor is lucky enough to have acquired two of these gems: one at our original 8th Street location and one at our new SoHa Location - 1135 Amsterdam Avenue on the campus of Columbia University. Having a Mexican Cake on draft, delivered by our Chill-Rite 32 system, is nothing short of heavenly.  Stay connected with us through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Untappd or Beer Menus so you know the moment we tap these bad daddies.  Then, be quick and get here as soon as possible. As Ferris Buehler said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it!”