Friday Brew Review: La Migra Imperial Stout

Having never traveled there myself, my knowledge of Mexico consists primarily of piecemeal anecdotal references. In my mind, the streets of Mexico City will forever be lined with folks headbangin’ away to Live Shit: Binge & Purge. As far as I know, these same Mexicans are so blessed as to taste the wonders of El Pelon every time they eat. And, of course, the nation’s favorite athlete is La Flama Blanca.

As far as I can tell, Mexico is a beautiful country.

However, I’d be a liar to suggest that I’ve ever thought of Mexican beer with anything more than a fleeting interest. Sure, Corona might be a good choice for barbeques and picnics and other days spent in the sun, but its light body leaves serious beer-drinkers desiring more. Similarly, I like the Dos Equis Guy‘s style, but that doesn’t mean that I want to drink his beer.

In an effort to perfect the image of Mexico in my mind’s eye, I’m dedicated to finding an exported beer that meets my (admittedly elevated) standards. As such, tonite I’m sipping on a product of Cucapá, a genuine Mexican micro-brewery.

The south-of-the-border concoction at hand: La Migra Imperial Stout!

Having never even heard of the  Cucapá brewery before, I did some cursory research. From what I can gather, this is a company dedicated to dispelling the notion that all Mexican beer is light pee-pee water. Hell, just check out the variety of lagers they offer (as noted on their website):

Holy bandito!

Although I’d like to sample all of these, tonite I’m dedicating my palate to La Migra Imperial Stout. With a bit more haphazard Internet-research, I was able to ascertain that la migra is slang for border patrol. To my suburban-mind, this gives the stout a risky, roguish quality! Hell, I feel like I’m about to drink Han Solo! And that’s an experience she knows something about!

Okay, with the crude innuendos behind us, it’s time to offer the actual review!

La Migra poured into my glass as an intense black, as I’ve come to expect from good stouts. This blackness was capped off by a tan head that appeared both dense and creamy. Moreover, it took quite a bit of light for me to notice even the faintest traces of red in this brew.

In olfactory terms, La Migra brings quite a bit to the party. My nose was first greeted by a roasted smokiness, as thought a burnt cake was being set to cool on the windowsill. Subsequent sniffings brought light fruit notes into the arena, perhaps cruising in on the alcoholic vapors indicative of a heightened ABV. Additionally, the whole equation seems to be balanced by the aroma of dark, bitter chocolate.

Before even getting to the actual taste, I must praise La Migra for its texture. This stout’s mouthfeel is both light and creamy, with just enough carbonation to keep things interesting. While this isn’t the heaviest or richest beer I’ve encountered, it definitely leaves more sticking to your gums than the other cervezas I’ve had.

Taste-wise, I was pleased with this imperial stout. La Migra slung the weight of dark coffees and burnt chocolates, fooling around with the Dark Side like the son of Skywalker in ROTJ. But like young Luke, La Migra doesn’t become consumed by its hate; instead, it ventures back into the realm of the sweet by bringing a smidge of vanilla to the forefront. Moreover, there is a real dryness to this stout that prevents it from becoming a rich, dessert beer.

Overall, La Migra Imperial Stout is a solid brew. Although I can’t say that it’s the best imperial I’ve ever had, it’s definitely the best Mexican beer I’ve put into my gut. Now when I close my eyes and daydream of Mexico, I can see the place to which I’ve never been but still need to go.

The verdict: B