Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
"South of the Border, down Mexico way..."
No Tucson, home of the University of Arizona, isn't South of the Border, but it's damn close. Situated near 60 miles from Mexico, Tucson actually finds itself farther south than the famous border town of Tijuana. Since Arizona has little to no brewing culture as Coloradans know it, and I'm grasping at straws, I'm going to juke hard in the direction of the "hey, the U of A is situated kind-of near Mexico" angle this week.
Most Mexican beer is of the lager family. If you haven't noticed, it can get kind of warm and dry over the border, and the light, refreshing taste of a lager is more appropriate than the heavy ale styles that are prevalent in American brewing. One of the more recent varieties to hit America is also one of the oldest surviving brews in North America. I'm naming that beer, Grupo Modelo's Victoria, as my tailgate beer-o-the-week.
What Americans view as 'Mexican' beer gets a bad rap from the 'skunky' flavor of Corona. Someone decided it was a good idea to put that shit in clear bottles, which allow UV rays to spoil hop oils and destroy the flavor of the brew. This spoilage literally creates a chemical that is akin to that which comes out the mean end of a skunk. No matter the origin of the beer, if you put it in clear bottles, it's going to start smelling like ass; avoid these beers at all costs, and slap anyone you come across who thinks its a good idea to bottle in clear glass.
But not all Mexican beer is created equal. Victoria is not placed in the horrible clear bottles, and thus doesn't smell like ass. In fact, it smells like beer, which is good since that what I'm looking for in a beer. The taste isn't that bad either. As a Vienna-style lager (the style was brought over by immigrants in the 19th Century), Victoria isn't going to blow you away with complex flavor, but it's light and sweet, and definitely on the drinkable end of the spectrum as it comes in at about 4% alcohol.
Victoria has been a favorite in Mexico since about the time America was finishing up our Civil War, and the brand has survived and thrived to the point that it was brought to our country last year. Give it a try, it's definitely a change of pace from my typical litany of hop-heavy ales. Just please, don't try jamming a damn lime up its ass.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, Beat Arizona!