Dia de Muertos, otherwise known as Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a three-day festival where Mexican families gather to celebrate and pray for the souls of lost loved ones. It dates back to the ancient Aztecs, when they used to celebrate their goddess of the dead.
With a combination of festive music, gorgeous decorations, and incredible food, the significance of this important cultural event is starting to take a hold of the imagination of people worldwide.
My family also thinks it’s pretty fun. Clearly, we’re not the only ones, with St. Pete’s 3 Daughters brewing taking the holiday as inspiration for the complex and complicated Phantasmas (Imperial IPA, 8.8% ABV).
The large, ornate, and gorgeous calavera on the bottle label should be a good indicator of exactly what you’ll be getting into when attempting this beer. It is, as it says, a double IPA with peppers that was aged in tequila-soaked barrels.
It’s kind of a mouthful. And it’s a lot more subtle and nuanced than it should sound.
First, the double IPA-ness of the beer is moderate and very earthy, with a strong caramel undercurrent. It’s less bright an biscuity than Bimini Twist and most other IPAs. The spice character is very light, coming off as more of a kick from hopping than a harsh, hot sauce quality. It heats up a bit as the beer warms, but it’s still not overtly aggressive.
To that, a deep, meaty tequila quality is very present. Where other beers would try to outwardly go for a strong boozy quality, only the flavor remains in Phantasmas. That gives the beer a great mature character, and a wonderful change from breweries not trying to go for the throat when it comes to a spirit-aged beer.
Will it be around again? Who’s to say. But the insiration behind the beer has lasted this long, so maybe the beer will, too.
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