Doce de Mayo

A sunny logo for a sunny day

Yes, I know – I’m talking about Cinco de Mayo a week late, which seems like eons in internet time.  So why even bother at this point?  And what does the 12th of May have to do with anything?

Here in DC, we’ve had an unusually mild May thus far; this week has been full of warm and enjoyable spring weather.  Ordinarily the weather goes from freezing winter temperatures  immediately to hot, humid, and downright miserable overnight, skipping the spring season altogether.  Thankfully this year is different – we’ve had at least a few weeks of warm, breezy, and not-so-rainy weather.  And what better way to enjoy a Thursday evening – the doce de Mayo – than with a cold Mexican beer.

Mexican beer generally comes in two varieties: light (pilsner) and dark (amber).  There is much variation within these two broad categories to be sure.  But when you’re sitting outside on a warm or even hot day, a dark amber beer likely won’t be a first choice.  So I’ll keep this discussion on the light beers for now and leave dark Mexican beer – Bohemia, Dos Equis, and Negra Modelo, for example – for Labor Day, when the weather is still warm yet summer has ended.  A perfect way to transition your drinking to cooler autumn temperatures and darker fall beers.

Let’s start with Corona, likely the most easily found import, which I’ve heard derided as “the Miller Lite of Mexico.”  I personally don’t have any problem with it – especially when it’s ice cold and served with a lemon or lime wedge (it doesn’t taste different to me).  If you’re a little ashamed to order a Corona because of its reputation  or if you’re feeling a little pretentious – always encouraged here – try a Pacifico or Sol instead.  Both are a higher quality and far less ubitquitous.

Next up and my favorite, Modelo Especial, a crisp and lightly hoppy beer best enjoyed from a can.  Especial is my go-to summer beer whether at a cookout, camping, or at the beach.  Craft brewed seasonal summer ales are good, but are oftentimes a bit heavy for this region’s diabolically humid summer days.  By contrast, one or two Especials will cool you down without filling you up, leaving plenty of room for hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad.

Finally Tecate, another canned beer that’s slightly darker and more amber in color and body, is fantastic if you prefer a medium-bodied beer regardless of what the hygrometer or thermometer says.  Although an amber, it’s not as full and heavy as the other Mexican ambers noted above.  Its distinctive red can make it easy to find in the deepest coolers, its contents no less refreshing than its lighters pilsner brethren.

An important note for your safety, in my experience: canned Mexican beer is fantastically delicious, but be careful with whom you drink.  A few Tecates may encourage rowdy friends to hurl empty cans at unsuspecting passers-by.  Make sure you aren’t one of them.

While the 12th of May is too late to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it’s just the right time to welcome spring and summer with a refreshing Mexican beer.  iSalúd!

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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