3/24/20: Tales from the Cellar #2--Warped Wing Brewing Company's Coyoacán (2017)

2:26 PM

When's the last time you washed your hands? Been an hour? Go take care of that then come back. It's okay. This post can wait.

Go on.

Okay, now that that's done, we're good. Today's the second in my COVID-19 Pandemic Tales from the Cellar series. For each of these, Michelle's selecting a beer from my cellar for me to review. Today, I discovered she's a big fan of how Warped Wing's bottles looks, because she picked one of their beers again. This is something that I'm 100% not complaining about; I love me some Warped Wing. So, here we go: A 2017 bottle of Warped Wing's Coyoacán.

I'm going to do the Warped Wing backstory spiel from memory but, if you want the official info, be sure to hit up their "About Warped Wing" page. The Dayton, OH brewery is named after a Wright brothers invention that made flying machines possible. Through both their inventive and traditional brews, Warped Wing pays homage to all of the dreamers and entrepreneurs that have called their city home.

I can't find anything official on the beer, so, as always when this happens, we'll turn to our friends at Untappd. Named after one of Mexico City's burrough's, Coyoacán is a 10.5% ABV Belgian style tripel that's been aged in mezcal barrels (mezcal, for those not in the know, is a spirit made from the agave plant, so it's almost like tequila, but not really). My bottle's meant to boast smoky aromatics of mezcal and Belgian yeast and tasting notes of smoke and fruit.

You know what? I get smoke, agave (almost aloe vera, but wetter), and spicy Belgian yeast notes (banana, clove, slight cinnamon) on the nose. There's a dryness from the yeast, as well, and a hearty malty backbone. I find absolutely nothing that hints at the ale's ABV, apart from the agave itself (anyone who's had a bad tequila night will understand). Overall, it's an incredibly refreshing aroma. Lottie agrees--she gave my bottle 32 whiffs. (You'll note in the photo below how far the bottle is from her--any closer and she would've grabbed a tonguefull or two of the stuff, and I don't want that for her.)

My first swig is far sweeter than I'd expected. I'm familiar with tripels and know the sweetness I'm likely to find there. This is more than that. Sure, it's got the malt and yeasty spiciness of the best tripels (with the same boozy burn in the finish), but that sweetness is ratcheted up thanks to the mezcal barrels, it's almost a sweet peppermint and bubblegum added to the affair. There's definite fruit as well (I'm getting green apple, peach, and plum most strongly). But the agave, through those same mezcal barrels, gives it an earthy quality that keeps the sweetness from overloading each swig. I guess this earthiness is actually kind of smoky. Maybe that's where the ale's description gets it. This is good, because I was expected overwhelming smoke, which, having now tasted the beer, isn't something I think would benefit it at all.

Coyoacán's mouthfeel's exactly what you'd want from any kind of barrel-aged Belgian tripel. Rich and full, with a creamy carbonation. Velvety, even.

While I'm drinking this, I'm also listening to the new Bright Eyes single, "Persona Non Grata," that dropped today. This is the first new work from the band that we've had in over nine years. Bright Eyes is my favorite musical act. I'm telling you this because it's quite possible that the new single could be affecting my reminiscing right now, while I'm drinking Coyoacán.

I saw Bright Eyes once and once only (I've seen Conor Oberst, the band's frontman, once since--it was going to be twice, but he canceled a few shows after having some mental health issues). I was a sophomore in college and it was right after their last album, The People's Key, came out. For some reason, they had a show in Columbus and their was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to go.

Tickets were $40 a pop, expensive for a college kid. Nevertheless, I was there. The show was amazing. It was standing room only--everyone was jam-packed onto the floor and bouncing off of each other. They played songs from the latest album, a song from the first Bright Eyes record (back when the name was nothing more than a vehicle for Oberst's music; by this I mean it was before Bright Eyes was a band), and a little from everything in between. It came out today that, in light of the pandemic, the band's reconsidering the tour it's planned. Even so, I'll be at any Ohio show they do. Maybe I'll be able to sneak a bottle of Coyoacán along.

Again, I'm happy with Michelle's choice of beer for me. Warped Wing's Coyoacán is bold and sweet. It does a fantastic job of marrying a Belgian style tripel and mezcal barrel flavors. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. If you have a 2017 vintage of the stuff, now's the time to drink it.

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