5 Rabbit Cervecería is relatively new to the Florida Panhandle. Theirs is an interesting tale so let’s check them out, shall we?
Brewery founder Andrés Araya’s Latin background steered him to Cervecería Costa Rica in Central America. There he worked in beer production and logistics. No mere suds-soaked keg jockey, Araya holds an MBA from Cornell as well as engineering degrees from Purdue. His combination of academic smarts and Latin American heritage began to meld into an artistic vision of beer making both innovative and enjoyable.
Araya moved his family to Chicago in 2011. In three very short years, the brewery has already had enough ups and downs to qualify for the stress and satisfaction of a brewery ten times 5 Rabbit’s age. His initial partnership on the brewery dissolved but he found a name among names to act as his Creative Director. Randy Mosher is a Senior Instructor at Chicago’s prestigious Siebel Institute – America’s oldest brewing school – and has authored four books on brewing.
5 Rabbit’s Brew Master, John Hall, is also a Siebel grad as well as having had a very long stint at another Chicago institution; Goose Island. His time there brought in multiple medals and accolades.
The three have conspired to weave Aztec mythology and influence into their product. The name 5 Rabbit refers to one of the five Aztec Ahuiteteo deities of excess and over-indulgence. 5 Rabbit was the leader of the 400 Rabbits whose parents were the gods of agave and fermentation.
With all of Latin America rich with bright and vibrant colors, food and culture, it’s no wonder that 5 Rabbit Brewing is able to successfully incorporate these ideas into craft beer; an industry quickly in danger of becoming both banal in classic styles or over-extended on outside of the box tinkering.
My origins in America’s southwest have long-instilled me with a great appreciation for Latin culture and flavor. This is how I was first drawn towards 5 Rabbit; the ingredients in their 5 Lizard Witbier.
Witbier is a Belgian classic that is defined by the use of dried Curaçao orange peel, coriander and specific strains of yeast along with a small dose of lactic acid. What 5 Rabbit did to make a version of their own was to replace the Curaçao orange – indigenous to an island off of Venezuela – with zesty lime. Keep the coriander, of course, and then add in some passion fruit puree for an exotic touch.
Cloudy straw-yellow with a towering head, this creamy and well-carbonated thirst quencher delivers precisely what its ingredients imply. That natural lime is boosted by the lemon from the wheat and the tropical citrus from the hops. The lactic acid/yeast combo give a little dose of funk up front before fleshy passion fruit, mango, grapefruit and even more lime yields to a mildly peppery finish that’s clean and memorable.
¡Bienvenida, y viva Cinco Conejo!