“Cinco de Mayo,” Spanish for “the sink is full of mayonnaise.” OK, not really. We made that up, which is only fitting, because the idea that May 5 is a big holiday celebrated throughout Mexico is also made up. This yarn was spun by some PR hack for Corona beer back in the ’80s, when the company was looking for a way to get Americans to drink more beer. Since this is not an especially hard task, they didn’t work especially hard on the idea, not even hard enough to note that Mexico’s real Day of Independence is Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates The Battle of Puebla, where Mexicans defeated the French army, and in Mexico is mostly a regional holiday. Holy mole! Why celebrate the fake holiday by drinking tasteless beer? It’s the perfect opportunity to drink Mexican inspired craft beer. We offer five such beers in our Craft Beer Crosscut 5.5.17: A Flight of Cinco de Mayo.
Don’t get us wrong: Few drinks go better with a hearty Mexican meal than an ice-cold bottle of Negra Modelo with a squeeze of lime. But if you’re looking for some Mexican beers that veer off the beaten path, Two Beers Brewing can quench your thirst for adventure with options that go beyond Corona, Tecate and Dos Equis. The Seattle brewery’s Lime Loca craft Mexican-style lager is infused with lime and sunshine with a nice malt finish.
4% ABV, 12 IBU
According to Melvin Brewing hype, the Wyoming’s Mexican lager Hey Zeus is, “Halfway between awesome and fantastico but with the quality you expect from the great Cervaceria de Melvin. Super simple with an abv that you can session all goddamn day. Stay thirsty bitches.” Indeed. Hey Zeus pours a clear pale blonde with a small white head. Aroma brings out straw, cereal malt and light corn. Flavor is fresh and crisp, with lots of straw and crisp crackery malt, and even a healthy hoppy bitterness. Tasty.
4.5% ABV, 20 IBU
Lowercase Brewing sits in South Park, but not the one depicted on Comedy Central. Instead of seeing the Rocky Mountains in the background, Lowercase sees the Duwamish River and the Seattle skyline — and a lot of diversity. The brewery’s spring seasonal is dedicated to its neighborhood and the not-so-real holiday of Cinco de Mayo. Brewed in the style of a Vienna Lager Lowercase actually uses a lager yeast that preforms at warmer temperatures and ferment the beer in the style of an ale. Not a “true” lager, this beer is light, crisp and everything you’ll find in a mass-produced lager … it just tastes better.
Odd Otter Brewing Company is the only Tacoma outpost where you’ll find craft beers named after otters, specifically “Ott” in the beers’ names. Ottcho Barracho carries on the tradition. It’s a Mexican-style lager that has natural lime juice and a little cilantro and peppers added to balance hints of sweetness from corn adjuncts.
9% ABV, 18 IBU
Puyallup River Brewing’s award winning Mud Mountain Milk Stout is as smooth as chocolate silk. Fresh vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, oats, and six different specialty malts make this one of the easiest drinking dark beers on the planet. For Cinco de Mayo, Puyallup head brewer Eric Akeson adds ghost peppers and cinnamon to the recipe for a Mexican Milkshake. And at 9% ABV, it’s primed to give you the liquid courage you’ll need to delve deeper into the boozy fire.