Thursday, June 7, 2007

Q: Why is Mexican beer so crappy?

A:. Just add chile.

I have always considered the exportation of Mexican beer an advertising success story. I have seen Corona beer selling in New Zealand grocery stores for over two bucks a bottle and Corona is a frat-house staple across the great U.S. of A., despite the fact that it tastes like piss if you can say it actually tastes like anything at all. And Corona is one of the better Mexican beers, indistinguishable in a blind tasting between Sol, Tecate, Dos X or Indios. The only positive attributes of a Mexican beer, as far as I can tell, is that it’s bubbly and it contains alcohol.
Having spent the last five years in Portland, Oregon, where even the lousiest corner market still has an impressive selection of microbrews, I didn’t used to waste my time with Mexican beers. If I’m going for an import, I’ll take a Belgian ale, thanks very much.
Since migrating to Mexico, Mexican beer is pretty much my only choice, and I’ve been hitting up the Negra Modelo, the only dark beer that seems to be widely available. However, I’ve changed my tune a bit since I’ve been enlightened to the correct use of Mexican beers. Beer is not usually considered something which requires instructions, but seriously, ask a Mexican for help before you think about downing a couple Sols.
Think of Mexican beer as cake mix. Just add…all the good stuff. In the case of beer, a wedge of lime at best. Or make yourself a michelada – right up there with shandy on refreshment scale (ignore your hipster friends if they are thumbing their nose at you over their pints of microbrewed, extra-dark porter, served room temperature). To make a michelada, squeeze the juice of an entire lemon into your glass, slide it around the edge, then pour a helluva lot of salt around the rim. Then, and only then, add beer. Delicious. Up the ante with a liberal dose of chile powder, whether around the rim or just dumped around the inner sides of the glass. If you really want to go big, keep the lime and salt, then also add about a half cup of tomato juice, a dash of hot sauce and Salsa Maggi (basically soy sauce).
That is how it is done, my friends. Aren’t you glad the beer didn’t have any flavor to prevent you from enjoying the tasty lime and chile?

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