Sometimes there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold beer.  But maybe you’re tired of the standard fare and craving something a little different, something with a little more sabor? 5 Rabbit, the first Latino-owned craft brewery in the United States has hit the Chicago scene, and with ingredients like ancho chile, piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), and passion fruit, it’s definitely spicing up the beer industry.

A few years ago, we had an epiphany about mainstream Latin American beers: in their majority they are bland, tasteless and boring—the complete opposite of everything else related to Latin American culture. That is how 5 Rabbit was born,” explains Andrés Araya, a native of San Jose, Costa Rica. He and his Mexican business partner, Isaac Showaki, are building their microbrewery out of Chicago. “Our mission is to bring the richness and exuberance of Latin America to the world of good beer.”

Named after Aztec mythology, the 5 Rabbit brews were developed with particular dishes in mind. The fruity and spicy 5 Rabbit variety is intended as an ideal complement for stuffed chiles, red snapper, fried fish, grilled chicken and pizza, while the 5 Lizard, a wheat beer made with a hint of lime and Colombian passion fruit, goes perfectly with ceviche, grilled shrimp, green tamales and crab cakes.  An amber-colored ale known as the 5 Vulture has a pinch of toasted sugar and roasted ancho chile and is best suited for dishes such as mole, grilled beef and hamburgers. With the arrival of autumn and lower temperatures, there is the Vida y Muerte, a slightly heavier, German-type beer, with a touch of Argentine caramel and Oaxacan pepper leaf. A winter beer, the Huitzi, a Belgian ale brewed with hibiscus flowers and honey, waits in the wings.

“The vast and delicious cuisines of Central and South America hold a treasure trove of flavors, aromas and textures, with much that feels right at home in a well-made beer,” notes Araya.  “We strive to make our beers different from everyone else’s. We also want to make them mysterious and captivating, so every sip reveals some new detail.”

Looking to settle in a city with a significant Hispanic population, booming beer scene, and affordable living, the partners chose Chicago over Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Austin, Texas.

“We love the Chicago vibe. [The] people are really passionate about great food and drinks.  Additionally, Chicagoans are great about supporting their own and live the whole local mentality in general.”

They are currently building their custom-designed 25,000 square-foot brew house southwest of downtown Chicago.

The two entrepreneurs met years ago when working for a consulting firm. They sat over some cervezas dreaming up their plan to one day create their own beers. The immigrant-founded company also partners with American Randy Mosher, a veteran on Chicago's microbrew scene.

Currently 5 Rabbit beers are found in Chicagoland, Ohio, and in the Philadelphia area, but hope to expand in a few years. In Chicago, they are already sold in some Whole Foods markets and at some high profile bars and restaurants like Rick Bayless’s XOCO, Zapatista and Hopleaf Bar.

We hope our beers will appeal not just to super-enthusiasts, but to everyone seeking fresh, unique and delicious beers,” says Araya.  “It is hard to believe that only two years ago this was all only written on paper. I remember being straight out of college and working for the cerveceria in San Jose, Costa Rica. Walking into the brew house everyday, and automatically feeling thrilled. The smell, the sounds, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have my own brew house to walk into.”

5 Rabbit Peruvian Style Charcoal Grilled Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 cup of 5 Vulture beer
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoon mashed up fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 fresh lemon or lime

Click here for the full recipe.


5 Rabbit Albóndigas en Salsa Verde

  • 1 pound tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 2 white onions peeled (one grated the other quartered)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 chile chipotle in adobo plus one tablespoon of sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 carrots finely grated
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Click here for the full recipe.

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