Halloween is for kids. So put down the Smarties and Twizzlers and get ready for some delicious adult treats on Nov. 1 at Bad Tattoo Brewing’s Dia de los Muertos party in Penticton.
Dia de los Muertos, which translates as Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday in which friends and family members come together to pray for and remember those who have died.
They honour the deceased, enjoy favourite foods and beverages of their departed loved ones, and leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
This year marks Bad Tattoo’s fourth annual Dia de Los Muertos Launch Party, which celebrates the release of two beers, Cerveza Fuerte and La Resurreccion.
“The event was a brainchild of Martin Lewis, one of our founders,” explains Robert Theroux, Bad Tattoo head brewer. “Martin loves the Mexican culture and this event celebrates all of that.” Although Lewis has since retired, the celebrations continue annually.
Guests get their faces painted like sugar skulls (in the Mexican tradition), enjoy a delicious pizza buffet in the brewhouse and snack on candy among the spooky lights, all while learning more about beer from the brewing team.
“The big treat of the night, though, is that this is the first opportunity for guests to try two specialty beers that we launch each year during the event,” says operations manager Derek Hurst.
Cerveza Fuerte is a limited release Belgian Quad. “We wanted a big, bold beer to be released annually at this party, so we created the Cerveza Fuerte, a dark Belgian strong ale. It has strong flavours of plums, raisin and figs, as well as hints of cloves and other spices. It comes in at 9.2 per cent ABV,” Theroux says.
This release marks the fourth vintage of Cerveza Fuerte, which has been popular since the beginning. Its first vintage won a silver medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
“The Cerveza Fuerte is getting better and better every year. It’s a first runnings batch, so that gives this beer rich, strong, concentrated flavours,” Theroux says. Only 900 bottles of the Cerveza Fuerte are available this year.
Every year, the brewing team pulls off 800 litres of Cerveza Fuerte to age in barrels, which is then resurrected one year later as La Resurreccion at Dia de Los Muertos. Each vintage of La Resurreccion has been aged in a different type of barrels: Tennessee whiskey in 2014, tequila in 2015 and, for the 2016 vintage released this year, brandy.
Theroux tasted the 2016 vintage of La Resurreccion as it was coming out of the barrels and says he’s excited for this launch.
“There is lots of oak. You can taste lots of grape. You get all of those flavours with the backbone of the Belgian quad,” he says. This year’s La Resurreccion comes in at 11.88 per cent ABV. Only 600 bottles will be made available.
It’s the exclusivity of these beers that keep people coming back to Bad Tattoo every Nov. 1.
“We get people back year after year for this event because they want to be among the first to try both of these new limited releases. People come from all around the Okanagan and even from Vancouver for the event,” Hurst says.
Tickets for the Dia de los Muertos Launch Party are $40, which includes a 750-ml collector bottle of Cerveza Fuerte. Phone the brewery to reserve your tickets.
If you can’t make it to Penticton but are closer to Victoria, head to Cafe Mexico on Nov. 2 for a taste of La Resurreccion at its Day of the Dead party.
“We are excited that Cafe Mexico, one of our biggest customers, will have La Resurreccion on tap as they celebrate the Day of the Dead with their own party in Victoria,” Hurst says.
Watch for the 750-ml custom-made printed bottles with wax dip in craft beer-focused private and government liquor stores around the province. Cerveza Fuerte retails for around $15 while La Resurreccion retails for around $25.