Cinco de Mayo and Beer Review: Islla En El Cielo (Celestial Beerworks)

Cinco de Mayo and Beer Review: Islla En El Cielo (Celestial Beerworks)

Happy Revenge of the Fifth….. err…. Cinco de Mayo…..

Happy Revenge of the Fifth…. or Cinco de Mayo… or Taco Tuesday; whatever you’re celebrating. But either way, quarantine or no quarantine, its a day to celebrate, especially in the beer world, and current events be damned if we’re not going to have fun right?

This would have been the ultimate brewery night. Taco Tuesday. Cinco de Mayo. All the craft breweries with a restaurant would have been all over this event. Especially places with a Mexican theme or influence, like Mad Chef, Rotunda Brewing, etc. Or Tattered Flag with their excellent tacos that they serve. So many places to go to eat and or drink at. Along with St. Patty’s Day and yesterday with May the Fourth; bars and breweries are missing out on some specialty days and holidays that typically boost sales for them and help bartenders earn some extra tips.

I did my ‘celebrating’ at home. For lunch, I grilled the family tacos and made it all from scratch myself, while enjoying a delicious a Mexican chocolate (pastry) stout from Celestial Beerworks (collaborating with Islla St Brewing).

Is this the Twilight Zone?

So, despite the pandemic, murder hornets, incoming cold weather (with forecasted snow in MAY here in Central PA), released footage of UFOs, and whatever other nonsense is going on in the world, lets take a look at this delicious beer. But first, since I’m sure you want to see my tacos, here you go:

Don’t worry, more lettuce, onions, and shredded cheese was added. Not sure why I didn’t take a fully completed taco picture to be honest (probably because I was finishing that 10% pastry stout, haha).

So, the beer in question came from my Texas beer mail package and is brewed as a collaboration between Celestial Beerworks and Islla St Brewing.

Texas Beer Mail

Ok, time to jump into this beer review and deliver the goods to you fine readers.

Beer: Islla en el Cielo
Brewery: Celestial Beerworks
Collaborator: Islla St Brewing
Style: Stout – Pastry
ABV: 10%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: This 10% Imperial Stout is loaded up with Star Crunch and Mexican chocolate. It is smooth and balanced. It has cinnamon on the nose and deep flavors of caramel and milk chocolate. It has a little heat and is beautifully sweet.

For those not Spanish, quick thing: en el cielo means in the sky. Isla (according to Google) not Islla; means island. So roughly the beer means: Island in the Sky.

Star Crunch is a Little Debbie cookie, as their site describes it: “A chewy cookie topped with caramel and crisp rice then covered in a layer of fudge.”

So whoever said my blog wasn’t informative and that reading it you wouldn’t learn things right? I’m teaching you Spanish, about Little Debbie cookies, about tacos, about Star Wars, and now about Texas breweries!

Celestial Beerworks is a Micro Brewery in Dallas Texas. According to Untappd they have 137 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.14. Their Untappd description reads: “At Celestial Beerworks, we believe that beer should be consumed in its freshest state. Our core line-up will focus on hop-forward, approachable, complex brews… We think that visiting a taproom should be an experience. This experience will combine our three favorite things: art, science, and delicious, fresh beer. We are working hard each and every day to bring this vision to fruition.”

Islla St Brewing is a brew pub in San Antonio Texas. Untappd credits them with a 150 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.05. Their Untappd description reads: “Islla St. brewing creates innovative and culturally rich small batch craft beer. Drawing flavors and influence from unique fruits and spices tied to our culture, history and contemporary influences. It is our hope to impact the craft beer industry and bridge a cultural gap through a deeper and richer experience of flavor intended to inspire curiosity. We are looking to open doors for those wanting to explore their heritage and influences in unconventional ways.” (Both breweries global averages are as of 5.5.20.)

The beer is pure black. Pure dark stout, as per typical, it has that lovely dark coloring. Very thin head to this. No foamy mass of head, just a very thin small head with few bubbles. This isn’t really a problem, especially since this isn’t a creamy stout, but more of a dark, rich stout full of various flavors.

Aroma is a bit all over the place. There is an underlying (Mexican) chocolate note to this that is the heaviest nose on the beer. But there is also plenty of other aromas; heavy cinnamon right away but not long-term, some caramel from the malts, a bit of breadyness but not a whole lot. Perhaps drinking this while making the tacos wasn’t the best idea for smelling the nose, but I got some of the heat of the beer in the nose, a slight vanilla, but mostly cinnamon and chocolate.

There is a little bit of heat to this. Nothing like the heat to say Boneshire Brew Work’s Mexican LazaRIS stout, but there is an undercurrent of heat to this. (Which pairs perfectly with tacos by the way.) You definitely get the cinnamon, chocolate (Mexican and otherwise), some bready notes, the caramel malts, and a slight vanilla or milk taste. The biggest notes are the cinnamon and Mexican chocolate. These work very nicely in tandem. The milk chocolate, milk and vanilla notes, slight fudge, probably comes from the Little Debbie Star Crunches. The beer is bouncing back and forth between ‘heat’ and ‘sweet’, almost per sip. One sip you get the heat of the cinnamon and other notes and then the next you’re getting the sweet of the chocolate and Star Crunch. Makes for a interesting beer overall. I certainly digged it, and I think most will too. The heat might be a slight turn off to some, but its not really that prevalent in the beer, so its not bad. Its more of just a ‘bite’ to it than anything else. There is also a little bit of a boozyness to this, especially with it being a 10%, so load up on some tacos as you eat it to keep our belly nice and full and happy.

My Untappd rating: ****.25
Global Untappd rating: 4.09 (as of 5.5.20)

Well, this certainly wasn’t a typical Cinco de Mayo, just like we haven’t had ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ in a long time in general. But we will get there. I think we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully soon we’ll be back in the breweries enjoying a pint together.

Cheers! Salud! Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Mantente segura, quedate en casa, quedate feliz!

-B. Kline

Islla en el Cielo by Celestial Beerworks and Islla St Brewing, while I make tacos for Cinco de Mayo

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