Ska Brewing is known for being stout: its Steel Toe milk stout won gold at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival and again at the World Beer Cup in May. This fall, the Durango brewery will capitalize on that success by debuting the first in a series of four seasonal stouts that play off ingredients and cultures associated with certain times of the year.
The stouts will be the first new canned beers from Ska since the brewery began selling Mexican Logger statewide in April 2011. "There are four stouts, all in black cans, all coming out at the solstice or at the equinox," says Ska co-founder Dave Thibodeau. And then, he points out, they'll go away at the end of the season, so it's not a Christmas beer coming out in September or a summer beer coming out in February."
The first beer, scheduled for release in September, is Autumnal Mole Stout, an ale brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and three different varieties of chile peppers. Inspiration for the beers comes from Ska's proximity to New Mexico and its cuisine. The brewery hopes to put Hatch chiles in it, but "we really just wanted to make the perfect stout to pair with enchiladas and mole poblano," Thibodeau says.
Ska has been working on its recipes for at least a year and plans to debut a new one every three months through summer 2013, "when -- assuming the 12/21/12 calamity howlers are wrong -- the cycle will begin again," Thibodeau notes. The other three beers will likely be a peppermint stout, a version of Ska's orange cream stout, and a stout aged in merlot barrels -- but none of those is confirmed.
The packaging for all four beers will feature Ska's familiar comic book-inspired characters, like the skeleton who appears on the Mole can as well as the brewery's Pinstripe.
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In addition to seasonal ingredients, the beers and the cans will also incorporate "myth-based elements from different parts of the world," reveals the brewery. The Autumnal Mole Stout, for instance, features Mayan-inspired elements, something that evokes equinoxes and solstices. "The design for the Mole Stout ties in with the Mayan monuments at Chichen Itza, and the importance of the fall equinox to their culture," the brewery says.
All four beers will available statewide.