On Dec. 23, Norfolk’s Coelacanth Brewing Company, in collaboration with Cervecería Artesanal Roberta in Mexico City, Mexico, will release their newest seasonal beer, Against The Wall/Contra el Muro. The limited release of the Mexican Oatmeal Stout not only celebrates the camaraderie amongst international brewers, but also seeks to positively impact the community by donating a portion of its proceeds to support an Operation Smile mission in Mexico.

In the past, Coelacanth Brewing has released a slew of international-style brews inspired by German, Belgian and English classics. When Kevin Erskine, owner and founder of Coelacanth Brewing Company, chose to pursue an authentic Mexican beer, he wanted to create something different.

“It’s become trendy to do a light lager for Cinco de Mayo, but we try to do things a little differently—we didn’t want to put another Mexican Lager into a crowded seasonal market,” says Erskine.

Erskine therefore partnered with his friend, former classmate and owner of Cervecería Artesanal Roberta, Fernando Bayardo, to brew a one-of-a-kind craft beverage. The collaboration resulted in a Mexican-style Oatmeal Stout brewed with chocolate and chipotle peppers imported from Mexico.

While stouts are rather uncommon in Mexico’s warmer climate, Against The Wall highlights traditional Mexican flavors of chocolate and spice while also boasting the dark color and familiar richness of a traditional winter stout.

Once Coelacanth’s Head Brewer, Matt Topping, received the Mexican chocolate, peppers and spices from Bayardo, he began fine-tuning and executing the brew. “It’s going to be a great beer. We’ve been tasting it since it matured,” explains Erskine. “We took a base oatmeal stout recipe that we’ve done before, but altered it knowing the chocolate and smoky chipotle peppers were going to change the body.”

Erskine noted that Coelacanth will brew seven barrels of Against the Wall, all of which will be available exclusively at the brewery in Norfolk. Erskine is currently working with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to find a way to send the seasonal stout to Bayardo’s brewery, which specializes in three styles—Bock, Vienna and Lager Clara.

“We try to be as socially conscience as we can as a brewery and part of that to me is spreading the wealth. This beer is supposed to show a little bit of solidarity between some breweries who don’t see borders as much as people do, and it’s supposed to do some good for some needy kids in a different country,” says Erskine.

Coelacanth Brewing Company is located at 760 A W. 22nd Street in Norfolk. For more information about the release of Against the Wall/Contra el Muro, check out Coelacanth’s Facebook event.

Written By

Grace Silipigni