By Jacob Meza
Photo Credit: Michael Kiser — Good Beer Hunting (for bottom photo featuring BJ Putnam, local brewer and friend of 5 Rabbit)
Last Thursday, 5 Rabbit released two excellent brews at Dusek’s Beer Cellar in Pilsen. And so, on a not-so-cold Thursday night I made my way to Pilsen. Upon arriving I was led to a dim basement of what appeared to be a Prohibition-era building, an atmosphere eerily perfect for such a release.
I was anxious to try the beers now, but I was more anxious to solve something else: Why the name Gringolandia? Why come up with a series of beers and give it this name? I came across one of 5 Rabbit’s creative geniuses, Randy Mosher, to get the inside scoop on this new series. What was he trying to create?
“A craft beer than can be referenced to existing styles so people can figure out what they are.”
I completely understand. 5 rabbit has some phenomenal beers, but I do find myself looking at puzzled faces when I try to explain all the flavors in any of their beers. Not a bad thing at all. Just not easy to explain
Super Pils is not your typical Pilsner. You might even say it’s not a pilsner, but according to Randy it’s an IPA with pilsner ingredients such as European hops that give the Pilsner an herbal and hoppy taste. At 7.2 percent ABV and 65 IBUs, it’s got the strength of quite a few pilsners put together.
I personally enjoyed it because it had this unbalanced flavor that just works for me. It begins with grassiness complicated with a very subtle crisp but ends like an IPA should: very hoppy and dry (at least in my opinion).
The intention Randy had for the Fabulosa Porter was quite simple. He wanted a session beer with a creamy feel to it. This was accomplished by using brewing methods from the 18th century, and a different variety of malts and yeasts that give it a chocolaty flavor.
Fabulosa Porter was designed with all of us Chicagoans in mind; in winter you want to have a thicker, darker beer, but those can get a bit heavy after a few. This beer was made as a session beer, which is essentially an easy-drinking dark beer. In my humble opinion 5 Rabbit has themselves a medal-winning beer. It’s not as dark as any porter I’ve experienced, and that’s because they mostly used a brown malt and limited the amount of black malt. Beginning with chocolaty notes—let’s say milk chocolate—followed by toasty notes typical of porters, it ends with a very creamy feel. It is one of the creamiest beers I’ve ever tried. With a low ABV you can certainly have more than a couple.
With one sip of the Super Pilsner and the Fabulosa Porter you get it right away or you don’t, actually. The Latin flavors we’ve been accustomed to in a 5 Rabbit beer are not present. No spice, citrus or fruit either. They are just straight-up craft beers, but after a couple of sips you realize what their intentions were. They’re like that first-generation-born child who understands the American language and culture. Their beers have evolved to life in Gringolandia. What do I mean by that? It’s like all us Latinos here in the United States; we have adapted the American way of living, but we do it the Latin way. 5 Rabbit is becoming what Chicago really represents: a melting pot and you can taste it in their series of Gringolandia, a Latino homage to the American craft beer.
I asked 5 Rabbit founder Andres Araya when we should expect these beers in our favorite beverage store, and he told me that if all goes well and if they receive positive reviews, we should be seeing them in March. I’m going to just go ahead and say it: expect these bottles in the spring.