Local Beer Review: 5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte

Local Beer Review: 5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte
5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte beer. Photo © Mark McDermott

The Labor Day weekend means the stores are now filled with… Christmas Decorations. No, that's not it. Pumpkin Spice flavored junk food? Maybe. But it also brings us the fall beers like Oktoberfests.

I'm hoping to get into some more of these malty Mårzens in the time to come. But now I bought something in the store that's in the general vicinity: 5 Rabbit Cervceria's Vida y Muerte (Life and Death).

This Bedford Park brewery's seasonal is referred to as a "Muerzen". and is intended more to note the "Dia de los Muertos," or the Day of the Dead, which follows right after Halloween. This is described as starting with Vienna and Munich malts, then add dulce de leche, the Argentine milk caramel, and, yes, spices. I just hope not pumpkin pie spices. But we'll only find out by drinking it.

I had thought to use a German style Oktoberfest glass, but the label recommends a tulip. The beer pours a somewhat murky amber, with a fizzy, though somewhat persistent head. The smell… well, it seems like here we go with pumpkin spice again. It's not on the label, but some of the online sources mention "inspiration" by hoja santa, a Central American herb that adds complex flavors to cooking, kind of like the ingredients in root beer. So that might be what I'm thinking is the pie spice.

The taste is caramel sweet, but not overly so. The smells are nicely focused by my little tulip after all. The taste lets my pumpkin pie spice impression dwindle away, replaced by a more complex spicy and slightly herbal note. Some of the beer sticks to my lip, so there's still some extra malts available. It's just a little stronger than usual, at 6.3% abv. A little bit of milk in the aftertaste.As I go further down, I can pick out chamomile and a little bit of pepper, maybe still a little cinnamon. It turns into a complex brew as I drink it, and it invites slow drinking.

5 Rabbit suggests having this with cheese, flan or, wait for it, pumpkin pie. So it's not really the "Mexican twist on an Oktoberfest" I thought it would be, but a solid, spicy holiday beer.

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