- Julia Thiel
- Hibiscus and more hibiscus
Several months ago—probably in the winter, now that I think about it—I was mailed a bottle of Huitzi, Five Rabbit’s “midwinter” beer brewed with hibiscus, ginger, chamomile, and honey. I’d tried it at a beer festival and liked it, but for some reason I put off opening the bottle (or maybe I just didn’t get around to it, which is more likely). Then I came across Rosa, a summer beer from Revolution Brewing—another local brew, also made with hibiscus. What are the odds?
The logical thing to do, of course, was taste them side by side. They’re different in style, at least on paper: Huitzi, inspired by agua de jamaica (a Mexican drink that’s essentially iced hibiscus tea, often infused with allspice, ginger, and lime), is a Belgian-style strong golden ale that weighs in at 9 percent ABV. Revolution describes Rosa, which is only 5.8 percent alcohol, as “a highly drinkable ale steeped with hibiscus flowers and a touch of orange peel for a natural tartness and slight pink hue.”