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

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

Culture

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

tamaleselenayantojitos / Instagram

The Los Angeles food truck Tamales Elena y Antojitos has been serving up authentic Guerrero food for 20 years. Tamales Elena y Antojitos is a staple at E 110th St. & Wilmington Ave. in LA’s Watts neighborhood offering up banana leaf-wrapped tamales. Now, Tamales Elena y Antojitos will become a restaurant.

Tamales Elena y Antojitos is opening up LA’s first Afro-Mexican restaurant.

Not even a pandemic will slow them down. The family behind the famous food truck in Watts will soon be welcoming guests (following COVID-19 guidelines) in Bell Gardens, California. The tamales, pozoles, and array of Afro-Mexican dishes will be served to everyone who has come to adore the Mexican establishment.

The restaurant will add another cuisine to the vast palate that is LA’s food scene.

Los Angeles is home to a diverse and inviting list of restaurants representing cultures from around the world. Some of the best Mexican food in the country can be found in Los Angeles and Tamales Elena y Antojitos is adding another level to that representation. Angelenos are celebrating the Afro-Mexican restaurant staffed and owned by Afro-Mexicans.

The restaurant has a special place in people’s lives.

The family has been offering up their unique food to residents of Watts for 20 years. In two weeks, Maria Elena Lorenzo will be offering up her family recipes in-store to more people as of July 15. The family has spent years in the food industry and have worked hard to make their mark on LA’s food scene.

Lorenzo’s daughters have been played a big role in getting the restaurant going.

According to LA Eater, Lorenzo’s daughters have spent years working in various restaurants around Los Angeles. Her daughters, Maria, Heidi, Judepth, Teresa, and Nayeli spent time working front-of-house and back-of-house at restaurants including Rivera, Petty Cash Taqueria, and Guerrilla Tacos. Heidi Irra worked at Mezcalero in downtown Los Angeles. Now, the daughters are bringing their experience to the family business and helping their mother start her restaurant.

Lorenzo, lovingly known as Mama, is clearly going to have a lot of guests are her restaurant.

Congratulations, Mama! This is one of those stories we love to see. Nothing makes you prouder than watching Latino families come together to chase the American Dream and succeed.

READ: Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

Things That Matter

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

@LaskaMisty / Twitter

One Ohio couple recently received an order for a pizza that’ll leave a pretty rancid taste in your mouth.

After running errands with his wife Misty Laska this past Saturday night, Jason Laska said they picked up a pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars. Eager to eat they cracked open the pizza once they got home, receiving a shocking surprise that likely ruined their appetite.

Misty noticed a backward laid swastika made out of pepperoni slices on the pie.

After getting in touch with Little Caesars, the couple was told it was meant to be a funny and private joke.

According to The New York Times, when Misty Laska first opened the takeaway pizza she noticed that it was not sliced. Then, she and her husband realized that the pepperoni pieces had been prepared in the shape of a swastika.

Misty told Reuters that when they first realized what they saw they were “just silent.” Furious, they returned to the store to return the pizza, the shop was closed. The next day, the pizza chain, which is the third-largest in the country called, to apologize.

“We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated,” Little Caesars told The New York Times. “This conduct is completely against our values.”

“That’s why it was not cut or anything like that,” Jason Laska said. “They made it as a joke and it was never intended to go out to a customer.”

However, even if the joke was meant to be a private one it is gross and unacceptable.

“Even in a joking manner, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Jason Laska added.

Jill Proctor, a spokesperson for Little Caesars confirmed the incident and said that the employees involved were fired in a statement to CNN. “We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated. We’re deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values,” Proctor continued. “We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him.”

In response to the firing of the employees, Misty has said she hopes they are learning an important lesson.”These are the kinds of things that are continuing to fuel the hate and the confusion that exists in the country and in the world,” her husband said after sharing that they both hope

The Laskas hoped that by sharing their experience others will educate themselves about Nazism and the symbols used to perpetuate it.