food & drink

9 Craft Beers That Prove Mexican Ingredients Make Everything Better

When it comes to sabor, Mexican ingredients provide some of the most mouthwatering experiences on Earth. So it should come as no surprise that many craft beer brewers are incorporating those flavors into their beers for interesting results. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast looking for an excuse to drink (and who isn’t), here are a few beers that should satisfy your craving for delicious and traditional Mexican ingredients.

Border X Brewing: Horchata (Golden Stout)

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It’s already hard enough to turn down a horchata when it’s of the agua fresca variety, but San Diego’s Border X Brewing has figured out a way to turn the deliciousness up a notch or three. Though it carries a whopping 9.5 percent alcohol by volume content, the flavors of cinnamon, almonds, and vanilla really shine, leaving behind only a slight hoppy aftertaste. This is a great drink to chase away the summer heat.

Night Shift Brewing: Viva Habanera

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Usually when you eat something spicy, it’s nice to have a cold drink to help wash it all down. Well, Night Shift Brewing decided to kill two birds with one stone by incorporating habanero peppers into their beer, Viva Habanera. There’s also a nice hit of agave nectar, which may or may not take your mind off the fact that your tongue is on fire. This one definitely gives new meaning to the phrase “it burns when I pee.” Try at your own caution!

Flying Dog: Numero Uno Agave Cerveza

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If drinking hot peppers isn’t your thing, Flying Dog’s Numero Uno Agave Cerveza might be a nice compromise. Like Viva Habanera, this beer incorporates the sweet flavor of agave, but instead of hitting your taste buds with peppers, it adds flavors of lemon peel, making it about as refreshing as a margarita. Numero Uno also uses flaked maize to give it that “distinctive corn and cracker flavor traditionally found in Mexican lagers.”

Golden Road: Doña Neta

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Tamarind has been a staple in Mexican cuisine and candy for centuries, and now Los Angeles’ Golden Road Brewing has added it to their craft beer, Doña Neta. The beer’s tart recipe was submitted by Colorado Springs resident Jessica Fierro to the Beerland Competition, where it took the top prize. So for all you aspiring brewers looking for inspiration, Mexican ingredients might be the place to start!

READ: A List Of Latin American Cuisine That Isn’t For The Weak Stomach

WestFax Brewing Company: Cilantro Lime Ale

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For many of us, cilantro is more than just a garnish. It’s the highlight of a dish, like pico de gallo (which I consider a dish). Sadly, there are those unfortunate souls out there who think cilantro tastes like soap (seriously). For those who can’t stomach cilantro, I’d advise they skip WestFax’s Cilantro Lime Ale. The dynamic duo of cilantro and lime make this one of the more refreshing summer beers out there. If you hate the flavor of cilantro, I feel you. But hey, that just means there’s more beer for the rest of us.

The Bruery: Share This: Mole

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Holy mole! Okay, now that that’s out of the way we can talk about The Bruery’s mole inspired beer. The beer, Share This: Mole, boasts some of the most inspired ingredients on this list: ancho chiles, chipotle peppers, cinnamon, vanilla and cacao nibs. The end result is a beer that is both savory and chocolatey. Not the kind of beer you chug at a party, but rather what you’d sip while eating some tamale pie. As a bonus, for every bottle they make, the brewer donates a dollar to the Free Wheelchair Mission.

Island Brewing Company: Avocado Honey Ale

RUNNING BEAR HOMEBREWS / FACEBOOK

It’s no secret that avocados have been en vogue for the last several years in the U.S. When we’re not eating them, we’re wearing them as face-masks or using them as foot moisturizers. Now, thanks to Carpinteria, California’s Island Brewing Company, we’re drinking them as well. Every year, the U.S. imports millions of metric tons of the delightful berry (yeah, avocados are berries) from Mexico, so this drink isn’t going anywhere, unless avocados suddenly go out of style. Yeah, right.

Odell Brewing: Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour

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Now here’s a beer for you health conscious drinkers out there. Odell Brewing’s Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour pulls from the “classic German-style Berliner Weisse” process and adds the delicate flavors of the tomatillo, which tastes kind of like a “sour kiwi.” Definitely the right beer for those looking to increase their daily intake of vegetables. Have a few of these, then go for your morning jog. Actually, don’t do that.

Shiner: Prickly Pear

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During the summers in Mexico, cacti sprout prickly pears to the delight of those in need of a refreshing treat. Shiner, which is based out of Texas, knows the small cactus fruit is a great way to beat the heat, which is why they they made their Prickly Pear beer their official beer of summer. Unfortunately Shiner didn’t make a batch this year, leaving many people to wonder whether it’s even summer.

READ: We Bet You Can’t Get A Perfect Score On This Latin American Beer Quiz

Any beers we forgot? Leave a comment below!

These Cerveza Cans Will Help You Help The Environment And You Can Still Get Your Buzz On

Things That Matter

These Cerveza Cans Will Help You Help The Environment And You Can Still Get Your Buzz On

Codigo Web / YouTube

Let’s be real, plastic waste is a huge problem. And it’s one that has recently taken over our collective consciousness as we try and cut back on our waste – in particular, single-use plastics. 

One of the most obvious and unnecessary plastics are those pesky rings that hold cans together. Whether you’re drinking Coke or cervezas, these plastic rings are terrible. They often end up littering landscapes all over the place and animals like turtles and birds can get them wrapped around their little necks. 

So, the news from Mexican-beer company, Grupo Modelo, that they’re working to replace this plastic, is huge. 

Credit: @BrandFuel / Twitter

The beer world had one of the earliest plastic problems: six-pack rings. Getting rid of these rings became a big concern when word got out that they could entangle marine life. And yet, here we are, decades later, and – despite some interesting efforts like sticking cans together with glue or rings that are actually edible – the six-pack ring problem still hasn’t been definitively solved.

But thankfully, Corona is working towards a couple of solutions.

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

So how does it work? According to Mexico News Daily, the top of each can screws into the bottom of another, creating an interlocking tower up to 10 cans high. The format makes the product even more portable than before, meaning you don’t even really need a plastic bag to carry it. 

Of course, stacking cans end-to-end isn’t always ideal. Ten standard cans stacked on top of each other would be four feet tall. That’s far more conspicuous and unwieldy than holding a couple of six-packs under your arms. But at the same time, since these Fit Pack cans can be twisted apart and put back together at will, they provide an advantage six-packs don’t: You can stick together as many or as few cans as you want at any given time.

The plastic-free packaging concept, dubbed the Fit Pack, made the shortlist of the Innovation category at the Cannes Lions international awards show this year.

In a promotional video for the new cans, Carlos Ranero, Marketing VP for AB 1nBev, says, “In the beverage industry, there have been many solutions for cutting back the use of plastic; however, none has been fully adopted because they require the use of other materials. This solution has a very simple approach that can bring great financial benefits thanks to the complete removal of plastic materials in packaging.”

Fit Packs are currently being tested in Mexico only, but the company is planning for a wider rollout in the future.

Not only is the company testing out stackable beer cans, they’ve also been testing out biodegradable rings in Tulum, Mexico – obviously a major beer mecca.

Last year, the company also tested six-pack rings made from plant-based biodegradable fibers with a mix of byproduct waste and compostable materials. These were designed to break down into organic matter that won’t hurt wildlife. The plastic-free rings were first launched in Tulum, Mexico, with plans to expand at a later time. For the sake of Mother Earth, we’re hoping these products earn a spot on grocery store shelves.

Beer drinking Twitter was totally here for the news.

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Anything that makes drinking beer easier and better for the environment, yes please!

Others were already thinking of how much fun this could be…

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Like, let’s be real, you were totally thinking the same thing.

And many were glad we may no longer have to hear about the horrors of plastic waste.

Like all too often you turn on the news and hear about animals being stuck, caught, wrapped up in plastic rings. Many even suffocate.

While at least on Twitter user thought about the implications for beer can furniture…

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Because why not?!

And for the one person on Twitter who had their doubts…Twitter was ready with the truth.

Credit: @power97wpg / Twitter

Like for real though, I don’t know where you live that you thought you carry 24 cans of beer with plastic rings…

Here’s How This Man Created A Brewery Aimed At Highlighting The Best Of Mexican-American Culture

Culture

Here’s How This Man Created A Brewery Aimed At Highlighting The Best Of Mexican-American Culture

Javier Rojas / mitú

David Favela isn’t your typical brewer. He’s not fond of IPA’s or your usual German pilsner. His brewery, Border X Brewing, might also look like your typical neighborhood pub from the outside. But you won’t find a jukebox or cheesy neon signs on the walls.

Favela, 52, intends on straying away from your typical brewery business model. Instead, he is trying to create a brewery experience with Latin culture and community at the center of it.

“From the start, we didn’t bother with red ales and IPA’S because in all honesty none of us are ‘that.’ We didn’t grow up with that or any of those flavors,” Favela says. “If we’re not putting our personal experiences or palettes into our brewing then why bother? Quite frankly, we needed to bring some of our Latin background to this.”

This is the heart and mission of Border X Brewing. The brewery opened it’s first doors in 2014 just miles from the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Otay Mesa before relocating to Barrio Logan, a largely Chicano neighborhood in San Diego. But now, Favela has his eyes set on tapping into the Latino community in Los Angeles.

With an array of Latin flavored beers, Border X Brewing is making a name for its self in the growing Southern California brewery scene.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Favela is the CEO of the growing brewery company that has become popular for its fusion of ingredients familiar in Latino kitchens. Beers like the Blood Saison, inspired by agua de jamaica, is made with hibiscus flowers and agave. Or the Golden Horchata Stout, a gold medal winner at the L.A. International Beer Festival, is brewed with vanilla and canela.

“We’re not the first brewers to use jamaica or horchata but many don’t come from that background to fully understand how important these flavors are and mean to our identity,” Favela says.

Born in San Diego, Favela grew up in a largely Latino neighborhood and quickly realized he wanted community and family to be the base of his work. That’s why after working at Hewlett Packard for 22 years, he decided to invest in brewing. Along with his brother and two nephews, they set on creating a business that revolved around community involvement and beer.

“I really just wanted to hang out with my family and do something special together,” Favela says. “The question in my head was always could we create a space that builds community and at the same time showcases our roots? Yes.”

Border X quickly garnered popularity in it’s San Diego location. After five years of operating out of the Barrio Logan neighborhood, the brewery has expanded to Los Angeles.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Border X Brewing opened the doors to it’s newest location in the City of Bell back in March. The thriving Latino suburb in Southeast Los Angeles has seen immense growth in the last few years. Favela also sees the expansion in Bell as a way to connect with another working-class Latino community.

“We are a community-based brewery, we’re about events and we’re about the people living in those communities. Bell fit the bill for us,” Favela says. “A lot of people come here and they don’t even drink; they just like being part of this experience we’re trying to create.

Upon walking into the new location you’ll see framed photos of local low-rider groups and Chicanos dressed in zoot-suit style attire. The work comes from local artists which is something Favela is proud of. In the four months that the location has been open, it’s hosted multiple local musicians, a low-rider event and a community art show that are all part of the brewery’s core mission.

“We host fundraisers, we have art shows and, in many ways, this place becomes a crossroads for so many different walks of life,” Favela says. “In Barrio-Logan we connected with ex and current gang members, artists and locals. It’s a collective of different people all connecting.”

The City of Bell wasn’t the first option for the newest location. Favela originally looked at Boyle Heights, another largely Latino working-class neighborhood.

Credit: Javier Rojas

When planning the move to Los Angeles, Favela originally considered opening in Boyle Heights, the community home to the Chicano movement of the ’60s. Yet he eventually reconsidered after thoughts of gentrification. He knew about the rapid changes in the neighborhood and didn’t want to intrude and have the community turn on them as other new businesses have.

“Things like coffee shops and art galleries should be community assets but they’ve become easy targets. I grew in these barrios and I’m all for them but it begs the question of how to improve these communities without hurting or displacing people.” Favela said.

There are many factors he considers when expanding the brewery, the biggest being the community. This is important to him and he knows the effect a new business can have on a neighborhood like Boyle Heights.

“There are certain criteria I’ve established and one of them is ‘Are you creating a service for a demographic waiting to come into the community or are you serving the community that’s already there,” Favela says. “When you come in here you’ll find the demographic is 90-95 percent Latino. We try to recognize and celebrate that local history where our taste rooms are.”

For Favela, he sees the brewery as a way to connect his Latino background to a demographic that’s been waiting to be heard.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Border X Brewing has seen it’s a first and second wave of success in San Diego and now in LA. But for Favela, he knows this is just the start. He plans to expand to more locations such as Long Beach and Santa Ana, both largely Latino areas. That also means brewing new beer flavors that represent those communities.

“In Latin America, there are over 2,000 fermentation practices. Most of the beers here you won’t find anywhere else and we’re just getting started,” he says. “Mazapan beer, abuelita chocolate and peppino sour, this is just who we are.”

Favela smiles as he recalls those first days back at the original brewery location near the U.S-Mexico border. He reminds himself of how important it is to stay true to himself and how the customers have been a huge reason behind this passion.

“I’m constantly told by people when they walk into the brewery about how much they feel at home,” Favela says. They say ‘I feel so comfortable here’ and “I feel like you made this place for me’ and I say to them ‘I absolutely did’ and that’s special.”

READ: The Makers Of Corona Beer Are Spending Billions To Get Into The Weed Industry

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