Daa Daa De De Daa Daa Daa Daa. De Daa Daa Daa Daa Daa Daa. De Daa Daa Daaaaahhhhhhhh Daa! De Daa Daa Daaaaahhhhhhhhh Daa! De De De De Daa Daa Daa! Tequila! Bust out your dusty Jock Jams CD, kick back, and get ready for one of the most unique IPAs out there… Zapata Bot. No, that’s not Tom Selleck on the label, it’s a one of the most famous non-violent revolutionaries in the world mixed with one of the more obscure violent revolutionaries of the world. Gandhi meets Zapata; the juxtapositions are mind blowing. Famous for leading the peasant revolution in Mexico, Emilano Zapata is a leading figure in Mexican history… and if I have to explain the significance of Gandhi, God help you. The contrasting styles of Gandhi and Zapata face off in this brew… a tequila aged IPA. Typically, IPAs are one of those styles you never see mingling on the other side of the tracks with tattooed and aggressive liquor barrels. However, New England Brewing is not one to discriminate. Will the convergence of two cultures inspire citizens to rebel, or will their efforts be as insignificant as Occupy Wall Street? Time for the numbers…
Appearance: A delectable and hazy golden color that left a generous head and lacing as I drank. Very pretty and certainly on the lighter side of any barrel aged beer I’ve had… but definitely not unexpected.
Smell: The smell of this brew is really all over the place. Juicy hops, orange, lime, earthyness, musty wood, and creamsicle. Hops and creamsicle? Orange and musty? I can’t wait to ingest this.
Taste: Incredibly balanced between fresh, juicy hops and citrusy tequila. No one flavor stands out across the palate, which is impressive. The hops don’t block out the tequila, and the booziness from Zapata is tucked away under the bitterness from Gandhi. As I drank, I picked up more flavors from the tequila, with the main players being fresh oranges mixed with wet wood. The grapefruit flavors that are a staple of Gandhi Bot pair well with the tequila and make this a very logically conceived beer, although unconventional. With that said, this brew is very refreshing, and a word that comes to mind when describing it is zesty. The carbonation scatters across the tongue, the alcohol tickles the inside of the mouth, and the bitter, dry finish forces you back into the glass. This beer is fresh. The hops are still vibrant in the beer and if aged, I do not think it would hold up with the assertiveness of the tequila. NEB Co. explicitly says to drink this fresh on the label.
The beer was fairly easy to drink considering it’s a bold 8.2% ABV and spent some time living in tequila barrels. The mouthfeel was thin considering the ABV, but was appropriate for the style. All in all, the beer provided a unique and pleasant experience. I have to give a big shout out to Todd, the beer trader whom I got this from. With only 1,000 bottles released, it sold out quick and left a lot of people wanting to get their hands on it.
Overall: I was a fan. I really liked how balanced this beer was, and, I believe, that drinking it fresh made a huge difference. Without the fruity and bitterness of the hops, the tequila would dominate and ruin the brew. Its balance, rarity, uniqueness, and taste earns this beer an A-. I like what NEB Co. is doing here – setting a trend for aging IPAs and doing it in a thoughtful way. No need to storm the gates of this brewery, Gandhi and Zapata can take the day off.