El Gato Mariachi

North Carolina
United States
El Gato Mariachi, Catawba Brewing Co.
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
82
Aroma:
18 / 24
Flavor:
32 / 40
Appearance:
6 / 6
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20
Description 

El Gato Mariachi incorporates all the traditional Horchata ingredients into a wheat ale base – along with a healthy dose of milk sugar. An addition of rice in the grain bill lightens the body for excellent drinkability, without sacrificing its creamy mouthfeel. The beer features an enticing aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. It pours a milky straw color, and finishes with just the right blend of vanilla sweetness and a touch of cinnamon spice.
The recipe for this new Limited Release was developed in the Asheville pilot brewhouse, and proved to be one of Catawba's best-selling Small Batch releases of 2019.
The release was crafted as an homage to the famous drink of taquerias across Latin America, and envisioned as the perfect beer pairing for tacos. It also happens that Taco is the name of the brewery's Sales Manager's cat. So, when it came time to name the beer and create its character, the idea of a "taco beer" and Taco the Cat naturally aligned. Taco is on the label with the piercing green eyes, dressed in his finest charro suit.
El Gato will be available in tasting rooms on draft and in 6-pack cans throughout Catawba’s 5-state distribution area.

Profile

ABV: 
5.3%
IBUs: 
15
Hops: 
Summit
Malts: 
Two-Row Pale, Malted Wheat
Judges Review 
Dan Preston's picture
Judges Rating:
82
Aroma:
18 / 24
Appearance:
6 / 6
Flavor:
32 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

El Gato Mariachi by Catawba Brewing Co. is a wheat ale (BJCP category 1D), but due to the additions of lactose, vanilla and cinnamon it shifts to Spice, Herb & Vegetable Beer, which is BJCP 2015 category 30A. This beer pours a light straw color with some haze, which is normal for a wheat style. It has as a bright white head that is fluffy and effervescent when poured, but collapses fast as it clings to the glass. The aroma is very spice-forward with lots of clove, nutmeg and white peppercorn. There is a light malt underneath with crackery pils-like and doughy wheat notes followed by a faint sweet vanilla milkshake at the backend. The flavor is similar but more balanced but still malt/spice-forward. The spice is more muted, allowing higher levels of malt to come through as soft honey wheat bread. The spice blend showcases more of the cinnamon and vanilla additions, but also displays some ginger and peppercorn. The hops are almost non-existent providing a faint floral character and a low level of bitterness that leads into a semi-sweet finish. Despite the lactose addition, the body is still fairly light with a soft mouthfeel and no astringency.

I know of the drink, but I’ve never had a Horchata myself to know how well it matches up. The additions were complementary to the style without overcoming it. It was a welcome new take on a SHV beer rather than the same old combinations.