Celebrate the holiday with something more authentic than a sombrero.
Part of the genius of Mexico is the country’s ability to not only adopt the best parts of another country’s culture, but to preserve and improve them. During the mid-19th century, Germans briefly reigned over parts of Mexico and brought their breweries with them. The locals realized a good thing when they tasted it and, after the Germans were ejected, Mexican brewers enhanced the beer styles. Eventually, the Vienna-style lager—a smooth, malty, amber brew—was made almost exclusively in Mexico, the Viennese having abandoned their malty offspring to its more attentive and creative Mexican caretakers.
Craft beer in Mexico is on the rise, but currently very little is crossing the border. Nevertheless, Mexico is a powerhouse of the brewing industry, Corona is the most imported beer in the US, so it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more craft beer from Mexico around town.
In the meantime, here are some craft beer alternatives to enjoy this Cinco de Mayo.
Baja calls this a Mexican Ale and while that’s not yet an officially recognized beer designation, it’s an indication that craft brewers in Mexico are moving outside of the established categories to define a realm of their own. Cabotella is a light, and slightly sweet blond ale. It’s currently the only craft brew from Mexico that’s distributed locally. You can find it at Tres, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, La Urbana, Colibri Mexican Bistro, and The Dubliner.
Natasha Gatto at Barrel Head describes their homage this way, “Vienna lager is a smooth, malty, amber style of beer which was very popular in Europe in the 1800s, before losing favor to paler versions of lager such as Pilsner. The style nearly went extinct, but survives with commercial examples such as Bohemia and Negra Modelo. We used the same lager yeast as these breweries to ferment a brew of Vienna malt and noble hops. The resulting beer is a rich mahogany color, with a fruity malt character and a smooth, dry finish. The beer is scheduled to be released on Cinco de Mayo.”
Another beer scheduled for release on May 5 is this off-the-wall IPA. Connor Casey at CellarMaker says it is “…hopped with generous amounts of Citra and Motueka and has tortilla shells and chips added during the mash. The rest of the ingredients are added towards the end of the boil: lime zest, lime juice, cumin, coriander, black pepper, sea salt, pasilla chiles, and cilantro. Taco Hands IPA is available at CellarMaker’s tasting room and select accounts.