Culture

Here Are Some Of The Craft Beers Coming From Latin America Worth Trying Out

Latin America is one of the best foodie paradises in the world. As we recently reported, Latin America houses some of the best restaurants and most creative chefs in the world. The foodie revolution in the region is not limited to restaurants but expands to artisanal products such as wines and beers. Yes, classics like Quilmes, XX and Corona still dominate the market in the region, but other smaller breweries are doing their best to bring some variety to the market. Yes, international brands such as Budweiser, which is the most valuable in the world and is going strong in key Latin American markets like Mexico and Colombia, still dominate the market, but cheleros are finding out that not all beer tastes the same. 

But cerveza is important in Latin America for economic reasons as well. In Mexico, for example, beer is one massive industry both locally and in terms of exports. According to C.E. NAFTA 2.0: “Mexican beer brands reach more than 180 countries. The United States received 72 percent of exports; the United Kingdom 3.3 percent, China 2.8 percent, Canada 2.8 percent and Chile 1.8 percent.” Mainstream Mexican beer labels are also leading the way in terms of sustainability. As reported by The Swazi Observer: “Green beer used to be a St. Patricks Day gimmick, but a sustainability movement seems to be taking off in the beer packaging industry. Diageo, the manufacturer of St. Patricks Day favorite, Guinness, announced in April that they will eliminate plastic from their beer packaging. In the two months since the Guinness announcement, the brewer of Mexican beer Corona has introduced a new can that doesn’t require plastic ring carriers”. Not bad at all! All these best practices filter down to smaller producers who are starting to make a mark. 

Here are some beers that are worth a taste and that showcase the renewed creativity and commitment of Latin American beer makers. You can find some of these in the United States, and you can try others when you travel to Latin America (it is always a good idea to get to know the region). 

Beer: Colimita
Country of origin: Mexico
Type of beer: lager
Pairings: seafood, particularly Sinaloa style mariscos (did anyone say taco gobernador?)

Credit: mariannadivaga / Instagram

The new star of the Mexican beer landscape. It has an alcohol level of 3.6 percent so it is light and refreshing.
What critics say: “Bottle in CDMX. Clear gold with a small white head. The aroma is nice, grassy, hay, bread. The flavor is slightly sweet, crisp, slightly bitter. Medium-light body, crisp. Good for the style” nickd717 in Rate Beer. This beer is growing in popularity in Mexico City and top-notch restaurants such as Pujol often have it at hand. There are other notable small breweries in Mexico such as the now-classic Casta from Monterrey, but Colimita is leading the way in the integration of these small labels into the mainstream.

Beer: Lumpen (birra arte)
Country of origin: Argentina
Type of beer: Dude (oatmeal stout) and Quiroga (gose), Jaco (Belgian blonde) and Guaica (lager)
Pairings: Honestly, these are better enjoyed by themselves, as they offer very specific notes

Credit: lumpenbirraarte / Instagram

Argentina is one of the foodie epicenters of the region due to its many influences. Argentinians call beer “birra”, which is Italian rather than Spanish and shows how engrained European culture is in the country, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires. Rather than a brewery that fits the mold, they are a sort of beer laboratory where they experiment with European styles such as the Belgian wheat beer or the very heavy and honeyed oatmeal stout. Their branding is super fun and even le rinde honor to pop culture symbols such as The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Now, can you imagine yourself having one of these after a day walking under the blistering sun in the Rio de la Plata? We certainly can! 

Beer: Sarandi
Country of origin: Argentina
Type of beer: red, black and honey
Pairings: a good asado argentino, of course, pibe!

Credit: cervecerasarandi / Instagram

We love a good, chunky beer can. This boutique brewery in Buenos Aires has gotten a sort of cult reputation. Distribution is still limited, but they are favoring quality over quantity. They are not trying to be fancy or pretentious: it is a true cerveza de barrio that goes well with a traditional Argentinian asado (BBQ). The Argentinian craft beer industry is living a great moment. As reported by The Korea Times, some Argentinian beer labels are breaking into the Korean market: “’I am honored to see to premium Argentine beer imported to Korea for the first time,’ Argentine Ambassador Alfredo Carlos Bascou said during the campaign at E-mart headquarters in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, July 25. ‘I hope to see other Argentine beers in the very near future.’” Argentinian wine is loved all over the world, and beer might be the next big thing coming out of the South American country. 

Beer: Cerveza Guin, Vanushka
Country of origin: Guatemala
Type of beer: stout
Pairings: meat-based dishes (did anyone say tacos de arrachera?)

Credit: cervezaguin / Instagram

Guatemala is living a tourism renaissance thanks to the vibrancy and beauty of its population, its Mayan ruins and the ventures started by expats from the US and Europe. Out of Quetzaltenango comes this recently released stout that is chocolatey and light at the same time. Don’t be surprised if Guatemala becomes a small chelera powerhouse in the future. After years of social unrest, Guatemala is slowly but surely becoming a viable and interesting tourist destination, and it is important to support small local businesses. 

Beer: Cerveza Cuello Negro
Country of origin: Chile
Type of beer: Stout
Pairings: chocolate truffles, strong cheeses, beef pies

Credit: cervezacuellonegro / Instagram

Chile has had constant flows of German immigration, and that has transpired into the outstanding craft beers. This one has a nose and a taste of chocolate and coffee, like any good European-style stout. You can also get tinges of caramel that warm you up in a winter night. User Grumbo says in Rate Beer: “Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, sweet aniseed, coffee and black treacle with a hint of tamarind. Moderate sweetness with medium to heavy roasted bitterness”. We love a good dark beer on a rainy afternoon.

Beer: Green Hops
Country of origin: Colombia
Type of beer: pale ale, dark ale, red ale
Pairings: strong cheeses, charcuterie, a nice crusty loaf of sourdough bread

Credit: greenhopsbeer / Instagram

The design in their bottles is as hipster as it gets but also reminds us of the great golden pieces that Colombian craftsmen have perfected since before colonization.  This Colombian craft brewery is located in Bogota. They specialize in ales, which is a type of beer brewed using a warm fermentation method. The result: a sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste. Yes, please.

Beer: Cusquena Roja
Country of origin: Peru
Type of beer: Amber lager
Pairings: salty and spicy food

Credit: bah_beer / Instagram

This Peruvian beer is a classic in the South American country. It is not fantastic, but it will do the trick if you are looking for something a bit more sophisticated than the average beer. User lutton says in Beer Rate: “Bottle in Lima. Small foam. Slightly richer red-orange body, slightly in the Vienna territory. Slightly richer, caramel malt. Not too sweet but much more than the regular Cusquenas.”

READ: This Mexican Beer — Made by Women Sommeliers and Cerveza Experts — Aims to Be The Best in the World

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Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?

Culture

Mountain Dew Margaritas Are Apparently A Thing At Red Lobster Now?

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

We’ve seen all kinds of takes on the timeless classic that is a Margarita. From frozen Margaritas to ones with cranberry juice and dashes of blue curaçao and twists of basil and ginger beer we’ve literally seen it all. Or so we thought.

Recently, Red Lobster announced that they’re doing a Mountain Dew-take on the beloved and salty tequila cocktail.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita promises to set you aglow.

The drink is the first official Mountain Dew cocktail and of course, it is bright lime green. While the cocktail’s recipe is being kept strictly under wraps, like everything at Red Lobster’s, it’s supposed to pair “perfectly” with Red Lobster’s iconic Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

“Red Lobster is thrilled to work with PepsiCo, not only because it has a great portfolio of brands, but specifically because of the food and beverage innovation possibilities,” Nelson Griffin,the Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Red Lobster said in a statement about the drink.

Red Lobster’s DEW-Garita is due to debut at Red Lobster locations nationwide in September and by the end of 2020.

The Margarita is an iconic Mexican drink related to a drink called Rhe Daisy.

The classic Tequila sour cocktail is one of the most beloved cocktails in the world. According to Wine Enthusiast “One story claims that the drink was created in 1938, as Mexican restaurant owner Carlos (Danny) Herrera mixed it for gorgeous Ziegfeld showgirl Marjorie King. Supposedly, Tequila was the only alcohol that King would abide, so Herrera added lime juice and salt.”

To make your own classic Margarita check out this recipe below

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt
  • Lime wedge
  • 2 ounces white Tequila
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice

Directions

Shake out coarse salt on a plate. Wet the rim of a glass by using the lime wedge. Press the rim of the glass in the plate of salt to coat. Add ice to the glass.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake well, and pour into the prepared glass over ice.

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El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

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El Pollo Loco Creates Hispanic Heritage Month Grant To Support Latina Small Businesses

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Covid-19 has devastated millions of Americans with job loss. Unemployment skyrocketed as the federal government failed to create and execute a plan to combat the pandemic. El Pollo Loco is stepping up and giving our community a chance to keep business doors open and community members employed.

El Pollo Loco is giving Latina business owners in the greater Los Angeles area a lifeline in these uncertain times.

The Latino community is the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs and business owners in the U.S. According to a Stanford University study, Latino business owners grew 34 percent while every other demographic grew 1 percent over the last ten years.

However, Covid has changed things. Latina-owned business are some of the hardest hit and the sudden loss is impacting our community. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinas experienced a -21 percent change in small business ownership and jobs since the Covid downturn.

El Pollo Loco is offering $100,000 in grants to different Latina-owned businesses because of the pandemic.

The fast food chain has started a GoFundMe to keep the donations going. El Pollo Loco has already pledged $100,000 to help Latina small businesses and the GoFundMe promises to keep the donations flowing. For every $10,000 raised in the GoFundMe, El Pollo Loco will donate it to a Latina small business. The GoFundMe has raised over $100,000 at the time of this post.

#WeAllGrow Latina partnered with El Pollo Loco to give Latina business owners this lifeline.

#WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco are asking the Latino community to help find Latina small businesses that deserve the grants. Instead of making the decision themselves, #WeAllGrow Latina and El Pollo Loco want you to nominate your favorite Latina small business for the grant.

“This year has been unlike any other, leaving Latina-owned businesses disproportionately impacted,” Bernard Acoca, President and Chief Executive Officer of El Pollo Loco, said in a statement. “Given the critical role brands are expected to play during the pandemic and on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, we felt compelled to find a way to support the people and city we call home.”

In order to nominate a business, here is what you have to do.

Credit: weallgrowlatina.com/fundlatinafoodjefas

Using social media, nominate your favorite LA-based Latina small business and tag @elpolloloco and @weallgrowlatina while using #grantcontest and #FundLatinaFoodJefas. You can nominate the business up to five times.

People are already nominating their favorite food places in LA.

You have until Sept. 15 to nominate your favorite Latina small business. You can help them win $10,000 and mentorship from El Pollo Loco to help Latina business owners in LA keep their doors open. You can learn more here.

READ: California Is Poised To Become The First State To Offer Unemployment To Undocumented Workers

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