Brewery: The Lost Abbey
Beer: Agave Maria
Style: American Strong Ale
Character: Brewed with agave syrup, then aged for 10 months in Anejo and Reposado Tequila barrels and blended together
Ratings at the time of Review: BA: 87 | RB: 94
Metal Connection: RIOT – Swords and Tequila
Thanks to my good friend, Jorge Espinoza of animebeers.com, I am able to review some of the killer beers from California that aren’t available in the Texas market. Beers from The Lost Abbey are not sold regularly here in Texas, so when these guys release a beast such as Agave Maria, I rely on my friend to come through for me, as we do awesome beer trades. Thanks again my friend! For those of you reading my beer reviews, please check out his amazing site, which incorporates his love for craft beer and anime. He is also a very good home brewer, and I will be including some reviews of his home made beers here on the site very soon.
I do love a lot of the labels for The Lost Abbey beers, as they are pretty damn close to Metal album covers sometimes. Of course, this interests me, as not only do I get impressed by the content within the bottle, I also love to see awesome artwork grace the bottle. Here on this 12.7 oz. bottle, the label shows an image of Mary with open arms floating above a mantle of burning candles, which of course represents the local people praying to her. Within the same ground under her feet is a large Tahona, 1-2 thousand pound wheel that is moved by mules in a circular fashion to crush the cooked agave to extract the pulp and get it ready for fermentation. There is also a tipped over wagon full of agave piñas. This image shows the Agave Maria looking over the work to make a fine tequila. I am not one for praying, and the whole virgin Mary fairy tale is cute and all, but I guess it is OK for those who believe to pray for safe and productive work days in the fields and distillery to make a fine tequila.
I poured this beer into a Jester King Brewery snifter glass, which is one of the recommended glassware for an American Strong Ale, which of course, is the style that Agave Maria falls under. Agave Maria was a dark, opaque plum colored beer, a purple-brownish color. After the initial pour, there was a small half finger wide head, which quickly disappeared. There was no lacing left on glass as this beer went down.
The aroma was pretty complex. I was able to pick up on the aroma of tequila, agave nectar, dark fruits like raisins, prunes, plums, notes of oak wood, bananas, sweet caramel, and some toasted coconut. Overall, the aroma of this beer was definitely sweet. There was a nice finish on the nose of a boozy burn. I really enjoyed the smell of tequila, agave nectar, the oak wood and toasted coconut.
The flavor was just as complex as the nose, and full of a lot of the same characters as the aroma. The sweetness of the agave nectar was definitely strong and up front. The body was all caramel mixed with dark fruits like raisins, prunes, and plums. It reminded me of Capriotada raisin bread pudding. A good presence of the oak barrels came up next, along with hints of tequila, bananas, toasted coconut, brown sugar/molasses. In the taste, there were underlying hints of licorice, star anise, and a little leather. There was a nice boozy burn on the way down. The aftertaste had a good mixture of agave nectar, oak wood, and caramel.
The body was full and heavy, and Agave Maria had a syrupy mouthfeel which left a slick mouth coating feeling after each swill.
Overall, I was very happy to have had this bottle, and I really do thank my good friend, Jorge Espinoza of animebeers.com for sending this beast to me. I have found myself loving beers aged in tequila barrels. I love a good tequila. If I am not drinking a good craft beer, I am looking for a nice shot of delicious tequila. This beer really impressed me with all of it’s complexity in the nose and flavor. The body and mouthfeel were right where they needed to be. I found this beer to be damn near perfect.
Metal Connection: The Metal Connection here was super easy, and I am happy to pair this awesome beer with one of my favorite songs while growing up. Riot has been an active band since 1975, with only a small 2 year hiatus from 1984-1986. They have released 15 full length albums since their creation. In 1981 , Riot released the classic album, Fire Down Under, which kicked off with the awesome opening track, “Swords and Tequila.” I remember hearing this song growing up, usually played by my Uncle George when I was a kid. Now, I am nearly 40, and this song still holds up amazingly, and sounds as great as the first time I ever heard it. Riot has a huge fan base here in San Antonio, and actually has some ties to my beloved Heavy Metal Capital city. When Riot split up in 1984, guitarist, Mark Reale moved to San Antonio, and formed a short lived band named, Narita. Narita had members of S.A. Slayer, Juggernaut, Machine Head, Sacred Reich. Currently, Riot still has bassist, Donnie Van Stavern, who was part of the San Antonio metal scene with S.A. Slayer, and is also currently involved in Evil United. Here is some classic Heavy Metal for you. Enjoy some Swords and Tequila!