LOST ABBEY AGAVE MARIA 2014
Aged for a minimum of 10 months in anejo and reposado tequila barrels (which originally housed tequila for 2 to 12 months and 1 to 3 years, respectively), this 13.5%-ABV strong ale was a boozy, caramel-sweet beast when fresh. After a couple years—and the activity of some very funky yeast—it hasn’t been tamed so much as transmogrified. Smooth oaky tones and leather recall the brew’s aroma when it was fresh; the swirling cherrylike fragrance and the tongue-gripping acidity are a departure. Caramel and dark chocolate arrive mid-sip to soften the tart impact, but the tequila’s vegetal, shotlike heat ignites the conclusion of the sip. Drink this bottle while the funk is still at a manageable level.
COACHELLA VALLEY MAYAHUEL
No tequila was harmed in the making of this Belgian-style tripel; its spirituous character comes from additions of Blue Webber Agave Nectar, clear Belgian candi sugar, tangerines, limes and a couple months spent in bourbon barrels. The beer those ingredients create, however, is boozy enough to belong in a salt-rimmed glass. Initial spikes of lime zest and vanilla quickly fade on the tongue to a melange of sugar cookies, ripe plum and harsh whiskey. Currently, there isn’t enough complexity to balance the beer’s alcohol character, but give it a year or so and the Belgian yeast should dry things out and pad the flavor with fruity complexity.