Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the one of the biggest upsets in human history – the outmatched and outnumbered Mexican army’s defeat of Napoleon’s French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It’s one of the most important holidays in Mexican culture, second only to Mexican Independence Day on September 16.
Mexican Lagers have seen something of a renaissance in recent years, with numerous craft brewers jumping on the trend and creating interesting lagers inspired by the omnipresent Dos Equis, Pacificas and Negra Modelos of the world.
While the history of Cinco de Mayo is forgotten by many, the drinking aspect of the holiday is extremely fresh in the collective consciousness. With that in mind, enjoy this short list of five of the best beers to enjoy on this (or any) May 5th. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
21st Amendment Brewery – El Sully
21st Amendment debuted El Sully in 2015. An easy-drinking and straightforward lager, this rendition leans more towards the Dos Equis lagers of the world rather than its darker counterpart, Dos Equis Ambar. As Mexican Lagers should be, El Sully is a smooth, inviting brew with faint floral hop notes and a mild graininess that’s sure to please a wide swath of our beer-quaffing brethren.
Ska Brewing – Mexican Logger
An early adopter of this nascent Mexican Craft Lager trend, Ska Brewing’s Mexican Logger is touted as “the perfect Mexican Lager” by its makers. The beer backs up that claim with ample complexity stemming from the use of Saaz hops, which create a smooth and spicy kick on the way down, all culminating in an inviting snap of bitterness at the finish. Refreshing and pintable, Mexican Logger is perfect after a long day of work. Or after a long day of anything. Actually, it’s good all the time.
Rogue Ales & Spirits – Chipotle Ale
Sure, this might be the only beer on the list that’s not a Mexican Lager-style brew, but it certainly makes up for it with heat. Rogue are known for some wacky brews (Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple, anyone?), but numerous breweries have begun to make beers with peppers and Rogue has a few variants, with Chipotle Ale leading the charge. This a rather straightforward pepper beer, but its spicy Chipotle-infused profile and easy-drinking finish would pair perfectly with chips and salsa at a Cinco de Mayo party.
Oskar Blues Brewery – Beerito
Mmmm… burritos and beer… yum… While Pacifico's and Negra Modelo's simple (read: boring) flavor profile certainly doesn’t impose on the hearty and flavorful dishes in Mexican cuisine, beers should accentuate and improve the flavors of dishes they’re paired with – not just help them wash the food down. Enter Oskar Blues’ new Beerito Mexican-inspired Lager. This dark rendition has a roasty, smoky flavor that would pair well with any Mexican dish – from fajitas to chimichangas – as well as its eponymous inspiration, the beautiful burrito.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. – Neato Bandito
Texas might be the most logical place for a Mexican Lager to be brewed. The home of tex-mex cuisine features a populace that’s 45% Latino (as of 2010), and this Mexican Lager from Deep Ellum in Dallas plays up that fact. Festooned with a luchador performing some sort of savage suplex on its can artwork, Neato Bandito is brewed with flaked maize (corn), an adjunct that many of the most recognizable Mexican Lagers employ. This ingredient creates a mealy, creamy mouthfeel that merits an immediate second sip followed by a hearty chug.
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