Cerveceria de Baja California Cucapá Clasica Blond Ale 4.5% abv. Cucapá Honey Amber Ale 4.5% abv.
There was a time when drinking Corona Extra Mexican lager out of a bottle with a wedge of lime in the neck was considered acceptable. Today, it’s not. Drinking bland lagers made by mega corporations (Corona is brewed by Inbev) is now somewhat passé. We want to Drink artisanal craft beers made of the finest ingredients and produced by smaller breweries. There may be over 1400 breweries in the UK but sometimes I crave something just a little bit different… something a bit more exotic. Therefore the importation of Mexico’s leading craft beers to the UK is to be welcomed.
Cucapá beers were first brewed in 2002 by the Garcia family in Mexicali, Baja California. They wanted to make beers that were different from the bland lagers that dominated the local drinks market. They began initially with the Blond Ale, which like golden ales in England, is designed to appeal to lager drinkers but to offer a bit more flavour. Cucapá Blond was so popular locally and amongst American tourists that it was exported to the USA where it won a Silver Medal that the 2009 World Beer Championships. Cucapá Blond pours a lovely golden colour and has a toasty aroma. It differs from English golden ales by using American Cascade and Amarillo hops which impart a citrusy, fruity taste. This is a balanced beer where the malt is not overwhelmed by the hops as is often the case with American IPAs. This is a very pleasant easy drinking beer which would go well with the spicy Mexican cuisine.
Also from the Cucapá stable comes Cucapá Honey Amber Ale which again offers a drink unlike most British ales. This pours a dark amber colour and the honey is just perceivable in the aroma. The beer is beautifully balanced, with a very smooth taste. Any sweetness from the added honey is counter-balanced by the use of American Colombus hops which are very citrusy and herbal. I have tried many British honey beers but they are too sweet for my taste. This is a very different taste sensation and would go well with chicken or fish.
Cucapá beers are named after one of the native Indian tribes who lived in the Baja California area. Mexico is not very well known for its rock music scene but it did produce one of the great names in rock in the form of guitarist, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico but moved to San Francisco when he was young. His band Santana came to fame after appearing at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969. They had hit albums throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s but came back to worldwide domination in 1999 with the release of Supernatural which was a No 1 hit LP around the world.
The best way to enjoy this drink would be to sit down with a bowl of chilli with a glass of Cucapá, whilst enjoying the blistering guitar work of Carlos Santana as they blew everyone off the stage at Woodstock back in 1969 with Soul Sacrifice.
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