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Column: Embrace the myth of New Realm Brewing Co.’s El JuicyCabra
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New Ream Brewing Co.'s El JuicyCabra embraces the myth of the blood-sucking chupacabra. - photo by Kelsey Podo

I think that everyone cycles through strange obsessions in their childhood. In my case, it was the chupacabra. 

Sometime in the early 2000s, shows started popping up about this legendary beast. They’re described as bipedal creatures with large eyes and spikes jutting from their backs. Tales of these beasts first popped up around Puerto Rico and have expanded throughout Latin America. 

The Spanish name translates to “goat-sucker,” which ties in with people’s claims about the chupacabra being responsible for the mysterious killings and blood-draining of livestock.

Just in case you’re wondering, no, I do not believe in chupacabras. However, I’m willing to change my mind if someone offers proof that isn’t the image of a Mexican hairless dog, known as the xoloitzcuintli, or a creepy-looking canine with mange. If you Google chupacabra, you’ll understand what I mean.

To my surprise, I found a beer this week that pays homage to this mythical creature. New Realm Brewing Co.’s El JuicyCabra displays the legendary chupacabra on its can — sharp teeth, bat-like wings and all. 

Mitch Steele, New Realm’s brewmaster, said the beer is one of four in the brewery’s Monsters and Myths double IPA series. Some of the other featured creatures include Bigfoot, Paul Bunyan’s faithful blue ox and a T. Rex with muscular arms. 

“Every quarter we released a new one,” Steele said. “We’re just having fun with monsters and myths.”

 El JuicyCabra, which was released in mid-October, offers a beautiful balance of tropical notes and bitterness. I’d call this one a “no coast” IPA because it doesn’t exhibit the face-punching sharpness of West Coast-style IPAs, nor the hazy, smooth-as-silk nature of New England-style IPAs.

Steele said he intentionally blended the two styles together to make a beer that “hopped like a New England IPA and was clear like a regular old school IPA.” He said Amarillo hops take the spotlight with this recipe, embracing notes of passion fruit and mango. 

“I love Amarillo hops,” Steele said. “I had a lot of fun brewing this beer, and our team really likes it too.”

I know I’m partial to the myth of the chupacabra, but I truly am a fan of this beer. I’d honestly add it to my top five list of favorite IPAs. It’s juicy, smooth and has a tiny hint of bitterness. Despite being 9% alcohol by volume, El JuicyCabra still goes down easily. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

For those in Hall County wanting to give this spooky beer a go, swing by Downtown Drafts in Gainesville. New Realm has locations in both Atlanta and Virginia Beach. For more information about the brewery’s upcoming beer, visit newrealmbrewing.com

El JuicyCabra

Brewery: New Realm Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 9%

Style: Double IPA

Bottom line: Honestly, this one is now in my top five for favorite IPAs

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