Ask the average person to name a Latin beer and chances are they’ll rattle off one of the “Big Five”: Corona, Pácifico, Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo. Get ready to expand your Latin beer repertoire with a new wave of Latin microbrews that are conquering American palates, one frosty mug at a time.
“People in the U.S. are getting excited about the Mexican and Brazilian brewery scenes,” said Brandon Woodcock, a New York-based Certified Cicerone and independent beer consultant. “Brazil has had a craft beer culture for some time, but some of the Mexican microbreweries are starting to get their products into U.S. markets near the border.”
Woodcock notes that Latin American microbreweries are producing beer styles that are in line with North American trends in craft brewing. “A Mexican brewery called Cucapá in Mexicali makes a flagship pale ale called Chupacabras that just hit the Los Angeles market last November,” he said. The company also produces an IPA, or India Pale Ale, a style of beer that originated in the nineteenth century with a higher hops content and a pleasantly bitter, malty taste.
Craft beer may be a recent trend among young Latin American brewers, but beer has been a mainstay in Latin America for centuries, as have beer cocktails. Mexico’s classic beer coctél, the Michelada, varies depending on where you are in Mexico. “There’s a small cantina in the south of Oaxaca called La Jiranda,” relates Oaxaca native Bricia Lopez, partner of La Guelaguetza restaurant in Los Angeles. “They claim to have invented the Michelada, but I think there are a lot of little bars in Mexico who share that claim,” she said.
Next, three beer cocktail recipes...