Odd Side Ales Imperial Mayan and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Mayan Mocha

Last Saturday, as I was finishing up a session of homebrewing by cracking open a second bottle from Odd Side that day, I came to the realization that I have been drinking an awful lot of Odd Side beers lately. A big reason for that has to do with the biweekly Dank Juice releases, one of the better NE IPAs in the Midwest. The Dank Juice line has spawned multiple iterations with different single hops or added fruits and I have been trying them all. But I also couldn’t pass up a couple bottles that add a twist to my other favorite Odd Side beer, Mayan Mocha Stout.

Mayan Mocha Stout is one of the best iterations of the Mexican hot chocolate subgenre of stouts. It’s also relatively easy to acquire, a rarity for those styles of beers. But it does have a couple bigger brothers that are more limited releases, Imperial Mayan and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Mayan Mocha.

Both of these beers successfully ramp up the intensity of the original while still maintaining the balance that is a hallmark of the line. Never cloying, the coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg and habaneros each get a turn to shine, while not completely overpowering the stout underneath. There’s plenty of heat but a lack of vegetal flavor that can often come with chile beers (and coffee beers, as well). The bourbon barrel treatment adds another level of flavor while accentuating the spices and bringing vanilla into the mix.

Mayan Mocha Stout is a beer to keep stocked throughout the winter. There’s no need to wait in line for it or search twenty different stores to get around bottle limits. But if you get the chance to pick up either of these variants, even if they do take a little extra work, it’s worth it.

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