If I had the money I would drop all plans and go to Mexico tomorrow! 5 years ago my other half and I had our first holiday together, we went straight in at the deep end and after only 6 months together we flew half way across the world to the Mexican Riviera. It was perfect, I loved Playa Del Carmen and the laid back Mexican way of life. The food, the cocktails, the nightlife were all spot on, all but one thing… The beer was awful, the entire week consisted of Corona or Dos Equis. This explains why my rum and cocktail consumption was possibly the most I had ever drank in my life! Coco Banana anyone?
So when I was invited to come try some new Mexican Craft Beer at Craft Beer Rising I jumped at the opportunity. Thanks to specialist drinks importer Heathwick we can now have access to some more interesting Mexican beer than the usual beers we think of when we settle down to our siesta.
First up was three beers from Cerveza Cucapa. Named after The Cucapas, historic natives of Baja California which translates to “People of the Water”, a name they got from their love for water and nature. Cerveza Cucapa’s location can be recognised within the taste of their beers, Baja California sits on the edge of the Mexico and United States boarder which means it is easy to taste their American brewing influences. Cerveza Cucapa take inspiration from America but use local Mexican produce to brew their beer, giving it an authentic feel.
I started with Cerveza Cucapas Clasica, a blonde ale which leans towards a sweater taste than I would usually expect fom a blonde ale. Honey and floral notes on the nose with a toffee and wholemeal bread flavour when drinking. It’s not the most complex beer you will try from Cerveza Cocapa’s range, but it’s an easy drinking enjoyable session-able beer that I would have killed for on the beaches of Mexico 5 years ago.
Next up was Cerveza Cucapa Honey, another Amber Ale but this time with extra natural Mexican honey. Some honey beers I have had in the past can be very full on and become sickly sweat, but Cerveza Cucapa Honey was perfect for me. It had that sweat taste of honey but it wasn’t overly chewy and didn’t have that thick lasting mouth feel. There was also fruity flavours breaking through and a slightly syrup taste alongside all that smooth honey.
Cerveza Cucapa Chupacabras is named after a modern day mythological character who eats up livestock, and if his appearance on the bottle is anything to go by then he is an extremely mean dude! This is Cerveza Cucapa’s take on an American Pale Ale, and it is a great take on one too. The hop and malt balance is good, slightly sweet with hints of caramel but with a good bitter lasting finish. This beer would have made me a much happier man while raving till the early hours in Coco Bongos night club!
Over all the beers from Cerveza Cacapa were good, nothing crazy but all good solid beers that would go down well on a hot summer’s day. The beers that I sampled would be great cross over beers for those who would usually drink the likes of Cronona but want to try something new. It would also be a welcome sight for the beer fridges of Mexican restaurants, all the beer range would complement burritos perfectly, one of my favourite types of food. Coming from my perspective as a full blown beer geek I would love to try what else they brew and taste some of their more creative beers. Such as the Cerveza Cucapa Lowrider, a double Roggenbier or Cerveza Cucapa La Migra, an 8.5% Imperial Stout, hopefully we will see these beers becoming available in the UK in the near future.
The last beer was from a different Mexican brewery, C5 Saga from Cerveceria Cinco de Mayo. On 5th May 1862 at the Battle de Puebla the Mexican army beat the much larger and better equipped French army during the French intervention in Mexico. Although eventually the French army over ran the Mexicans the victory on 5th May was a huge boost to the Mexicans, so much so that it is still celebrated in the city of Puebla today. Fast forward over 150 years later and Cerveceria Cinco de Mayo are brewing beers to help celebrate the event today in 2016.
Their beer C5 Saga has this gorgeous twisting-juicy- limey-citrus feel on the tongue, with a tingling coriander taste throughout, all leading to a soft orange peel flavour finish. This beer was my favourite out of the new range that Heathwick are bringing to our shores.
I love everything about Mexico, I am hoping that one day I can return to the sunny beaches and laid back bars and now this time I know there will be much more decent beer waiting for me!
I tried these beers for free at the Craft Beer Rising trade event but that hasn’t affected my opinion on them…