I think it was on my first trip to Due South, taking a tour with my lovely wife, that we had out first taste of Mexican Standoff. This might have been their first iteration, because the brew was just a few steps away from being straight hot sauce.
Literally, drinking it was like being that German guy at the end of Raders of the Lost Ark. Apparently, the first time the beer was brewed, they threw the entire chili pepper, seeds and all, into the brew not thinking too much about it.
That was a long time ago, though. Since then, this highly-anticipated yearly release has been refined and, thankfully, controlled. This year, Mexican Standoff (Stout, 8.5% ABV, 31 IBU) even got a release in cans.
It’s interesting to note that the can clearly states to drink it fresh. I’m happy to see that, since too many people are starting to age beers for no other reason except to say they’re not drinking the beers they just bought.
I’m also happy to see how wonderfully flavorful the new Mexican Standoff is. Instead of being a beer to be drunk on a dare, the beer has been reigned in. Those chilies are present and deliver a nice kick, but now work much more harmoniously with the vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate.
The effect is like a thick, rich, Mexican Hot Chocolate with the cocoa amplified and delivered piping hot. It’s big on all the candy-like flavors from some expertly added adjuncts while delivering the right amount of peppery aggressiveness on top of a chewy, malty, roasty stout.
This year’s Mexican Standoff was quite good indeed. Odds are they’re gone, but this is such a signature beer for them that you can count on it coming back. Heck, maybe they’ll release a more intense ‘classic’ version of the beer next year.
I’ll be the one in the corner avoiding that one.
Drink Florida Craft,