Saturday, September 8, 2007

Corona Extra

Today, my wife and I had her parents over to our place for tacos and other stereotypical Mexican foods tonight, and, inspired by the delicious meal, I thought that I should follow it up with a stereotypical Mexican beer. Then I realized that I never had the quintessential Mexican beer, Corona Extra, before. So many Cinco de Mayo's have gone by, but I never picked up Corona...mostly because they were sold out, surprisingly. However, this time I happened to have a bottle left over from some party. So I ran to the store, picked up a lime, and prepared myself for a south of the border experience.

Corona Extra was first brewed in 1925 by Cerveceria Modelo of Mexico City, the same brewery that makes Negro Modelo and other beers well-known to Mexican restaurants. It is the number 1 selling beer in Mexico and the leading export brand from Mexico, and has enjoyed enormous success in el norte in the 1980's. It is now sold in 150 countries worldwide, including Iraq. Stateside, it's sold in traditional 12 oz. clear glass bottles (which induces spoilage) and smaller bottles, which are labelled Coronita. Incidentally, regular-sized Coronas in Spain are also called Coronita, but it's because the Spanish crown has a trademark on the word corona "crown." Their label says "La cerveza más fina," which means "The finest beer." The American slogan for the beer is "Miles away from ordinary," while the Spanish American slogan is "Orguillosamente Mexicana," or "Proudly Mexican." (Source, plus personal research)

Additionally, the preferred way to drink this beer stateside is with a wedge of lime stuck in the neck. There have been many theories on the origin of the lime, from keeping flies out of the bottle to cleaning the glass of unsanitary elements around the top of the bottle. All false. The reason has to do with the spoilage-inducing clear glass bottle. The lime is there to mask the flavor of the skunky beer. Interestingly enough, people in Mexico do not usually drink this beer with the lime.

Here are the stats:

Corona Extra
BREWERY: Cerveceria Modelo, Mexico City, Mexico
CALORIES/SERVING: 148 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 4.6%
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Baked ham and salad

Most of the information came from the Corona FAQ, and the rest came from Beers of the World.

The clear bottle does not leave this beer's color to the imagination, which is a clear golden hue. The head was a nice bubbly white color that actually took its time going away. I couldn't really smell much of an aroma in the beer until I pressed my nose almost up against the head, which revealed a faint grainy scent. Then I tasted the beer, and there really wasn't much there. It still had more flavor than, say, a Red Stripe Light, and it is the best of all the Latin American lagers I've had before (mostly because most beers taste like Corona knock-offs with some extra metal thrown in). However, that's not saying much. The aftertaste was a little grainy, but the beer was very blah. Even when I added the lime, it tasted like blah beer with lime.

The good news is at 4.6% it'll get you buzzed, but the only sacrifice is taste. While Corona is the gold standard for Latin American lagers, it's not even close to the best beer Mexico has to offer. Get a Negro Modelo the next time you're at the local taqueria. You'll thank me later.


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