5 Rabbits Brewery puts emphasis on Latin flavors

April 14, 2013 4:27:33 AM PDT
A lot of folks can brew beer in Chicago, but very few of them are messing around with Spanish brandy barrels, infusing them with almonds. It's one of several experiments going on at the massive 5 Rabbits Brewery in Bedford Park, where the emphasis is on Latin flavors.

"We thought there was so much richness in Latin American culture and we didn't find that richness in beer," said co-owner Andres Araya. "We thought why don't we bring all the influences: historical, contemporary...and make beer that's as interesting as the rest of the culture."

Araya and his partner, Randy Mosher, produce a half-dozen styles.. Some, like the 5 Vulture, are infused with ancho chili. The 5 Lizard meanwhile, is a wheat beer that went from Belgian-style to Latin-style with a few additions.

"So we added fresh lime peel instead of the typical orange peel and we added passionfruit that we bring from Ecuador," Araya said. "Winter beers are typically dark and heavy and very much spicy, and we thought why don't we make something that makes you think of the spring and brighter days."

The result? Huitzi - a beer influenced by summertime aguas frescas, or fruit waters.

"We brew that with hibiscus flowers and honey and chamomile, and so it's very floral and very fresh, but also it's a big beer," he said.

The market for these Latin-style beers is apparently endless, as is the inspiration for new flavors.

"And we didn't think there was anything particularly Latin about the current beers being brewed in Latin America; they're just mass market pilsners like everywhere else in the world," said Mosher.

Now you can find 5 Rabbit pretty much anywhere here in Chicago, from Binny's to fine beer stores; even Chipotle. But don't come here to the brewery expecting to have a glass of beer or pick up a 6-pack to go because they're not quite set up for that yet. That's about a year or so away.

5 Rabbit Beer
http://www.5rabbitbrewery.com


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