One can view almost every snippet of world history through beer goggles, and Cinco de Mayo is no different:
- 1841 Austrian brewmaster Anton Dreher invents the Vienna Lager beer style after learning how to indirectly kiln malts from the British.
- 1862 The French invade Mexico and lose miserably on Cinco de Mayo at the battle of Puebla, despite outnumbering Mexicans 2 to 1.
- 1862-1864 The French continue the invasion and succeed, install a puppet government led by Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian who brought his own brewer from home, making Vienna lager.
- 1865 German and Austrian immigrants colonize throughout Mexico and make European-style lager throughout the country, with more than 35 breweries opening during the next 50 years.
- 1980-Present Mexican lager is one of the country’s largest exports, thanks to clear bottles, limes, and the world’s thirst for lager.
Sure there’s a lot of stuff I left out, but I just want to get you gentle readers out and about, trying some great Mexican-inspired beers brewed and available here in Orange County. Here’s tres cervezas to get muy borracho with your crew this May 5.
The Bruery’s Or Xata If you’ve ever wanted a boozy version of horchata, this is it. It tastes and smells like the popular agua fresca. It’s ricey, it’s vanilla-y, it’s cinnamon-y, and it’s super delicious. The 2016 release seems drier than previous years, which does it favors. Pair it with tacos, tortas, or even rice pudding for comparison. Available at the Bruery’s Placentia tasting room and in select stores.
21st Amendment El Sully When San Francisco’s “21A” began distributing in Orange County last year, I was pretty stoked to get their cans in my mouth. El Sully pays homage to the Vienna lager, using Vienna malt, flaked maize, and a Mexican yeast strain. It’s bright, crisp, and pairs well with Chiclets, lobster tacos, and even makes a great craft michelada mixed with Clamato. Find it at most beer stores and Taco Asylum in Costa Mesa.
Bottle Logic Leche Borracho Previously listed as one of my highlights of the brewery’s Week of Logic, the Mexican molé milk stout is truly one of the best tequila barrel-aged beers I’ve tried. Leche Borracho uses a rare dual-spirit wood spicing treatment (tequila/bourbon), offering a spicy spirit with the oak playing a smaller role to the big beer. Order it here for a limited time!