Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fresh lager from one of your favorite breweries.
Feature written by Brian Trivitt
One of the best things about being a beer writer is that most of the topics you write about are for the most part, positive, upbeat, and entertaining, especially if you are a beer lover. Even with my business like writing style that tends to be geared towards thoroughly analyzing a wide range of topics, generally speaking, most of what my research and writings generally end up being good news, despite the changing landscape.
Of course, that all changed when all of a sudden COVID 19 pulled the rug out from underneath the craft beer industry, among many different industries for that matter. Consequently, my last two posts have been filled with analysis of the devastating circumstances many craft breweries are currently dealing with and trying to predict how things will be different once things are back to “normal.”
So I decided to shift gears and discuss something more upbeat; Cinco De Mayo. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco De Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, but rather celebrates the Mexican Army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Today, here in the U.S., it’s a commemoration of Mexican culture and besides celebrating its rich history, Cinco De Mayo is also a great time to pair some delicious food with some great beers, and more specifically, some nice cold Mexican style lagers.
If you have read some of my previous writings, you know I’m a big fan of lagers and have always highly respected them and the breweries who take the time and have the guts to brew them, especially the ones who did years ago when all the craze was brewing mostly hoppy, high ABV ales. Among all the lager beer styles that exist, a well-brewed Mexican Lager hits the spot, especially when it’s hot outside, which of course, is a majority of the year here in Austin, TX. But even when it’s not spring or summer, I enjoy the thirst-quenching simplicity of the style, and needless to say, it makes for a great session beer.
Brewing in Mexico has a bit of a complicated history. After the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821, German and Austrian immigrants ended up settling in Texas and Mexico. The first beers actually brewed were actually Vienna style lagers and while you can still find them, these days when most people think of Mexican beer, they think of the pale (clara), light, crisp clean lagers best-consumed ice cold while sitting on a beach or hanging out at a summer barbeque. As mentioned above, brewing in Mexico has a rich history that warrants a post dedicated to discussing more details of the styles along with its incredible sales growth in the U.S., but in the meantime, I invite you to visit John Moorehead’s detailed article to get further details.
Obviously, May 5th is going to look quite different this year, with only a small handful of restaurants slowly opening their doors and restricted to much fewer patrons and taprooms still shut down. So in the spirit of supporting local business, how about picking up some delicious Mexican food from a few different local businesses this year, along with some beer to go from some local breweries?
These days, craft breweries, especially right here in Austin, are brewing some excellent Mexican style lagers as well as multiple other styles that pair very nicely with Mexican food. If you want a recommendation, swing by Austin Beerworks and grab a six-pack (or two) of La Verdad, which is a fantastic example of a Mexican Lager. They just had their ninth anniversary on May 2nd, and besides brewing world-class beer, their entire staff and owners are some of the greatest folks I have ever met in the industry. Besides stopping by ABW, why not pick some other local offerings and do some taste comparisons and food pairings? If you want, you don’t even have to worry about pouring; just kick back and enjoy a cold beer and some wonderful food and know you are doing the right thing supporting local businesses.