By The Gentleman
Today is International Beer Day so it only makes sense that we do a post about a beer. International Beer Day takes place on the first Friday of August and naturally it is a time to celebrate all things beer. It was also the perfect excuse to revisit the quirky and flavoursome beers being put out by New Zealand’s Garage Project brewery and try their blonde lager, the La Calavera Catrina.
In a lot of respects the La Calavera Catrina is the sister beer to the Day of the Dead Black Lager. Not only do they both utilise the Mexican influenced design for their label, with the La Calavera Catrina is even holding a sugar skull very similar to the one on the Day of the Dead Black Lager, but the white of the La Calavera Catrina label really contrasts with the black of the Day of the Dead. I like that when you place them together the dominant colouring of their label hints at the beer inside with the black of the Day of the Dead hinting towards the dark, intense beer inside while the white label of the La Calavera Catrina hints at the clean, crisp, pure blonde beer inside. Personally I think I prefer the La Calavera Catrina label because I am a sucker for girls and tattoos. The artwork is just absolutely stunning. The fine details of the tattoos and the skull painting on her face certainly make her look like a Lady of Death. If I could get a picture of her framed I would. The Day of the Dead and the La Calavera Catrina are not only related in design, but also in their dominant flavour.
The La Calavera Catrina is brewed with maize. I think it is safe to say this is the first time I’ve had a beer made with maize. It pours with a decent head and the drink is a very clear golden colour. In the description it lists the main flavours as organic habaneros, rose water and watermelon. The habaneros are definitely the dominant flavour. They give the drink a bold, fiery chili heat that leaves your whole mouth and the back of your throat tingling. At first I thought the chili was too overpowering, habaneros are definitely not a lightweight chili and the chili aftertaste is present for a long time, but as I drank more of the beer I really started to pick up on the watermelon. It is a really subtle flavour that exists as the very top note of the beer. When you taste it you get this fresh, fruitiness that helps to pave the way for the chili heat. The clarity of the beer transfers over to the taste. It has a very clean, crisp finish with very little bitterness that feels quite light despite the fact that it has a 6.9% ABV. A few of these longnecks and you’d be well on your way to a big night.
With the intense chili flavour and deceptive alcohol volume the La Calavera Catrina is a beer, as the bottle suggests, not to be taken lightly. It packs a whole lot of flavour into a very pleasing package. International Beer Day is designed to celebrate beer and Garage Project’s La Calavera Catrina is certainly a fine example of brewing that deserves to be celebrated, both for its delightful flavour and enticing packaging.