Monday, March 22, 2010

SalvaVida


Before getting to the meat of this entry, I want to let you all know to expect a hiatus coming up this week. It was great being able to write some entries during my spring break, but The Beerocrat has to hit the books again this week, so maybe expect one more entry this week, then possibly irregular updates until mid-May.

Stumbling along Reno's Irish Row this St. Patrick's Day, I stopped in the King Ranch market to see if I could grab some more Guinness to continue the celebration at a friend's house. I figured they'd have some because everyone's a little bit Irish on St. Paddy's Day, right? Apparently not there; all they had were Latin-American beers and your typical domestic fare. In my semi-drunken state, I remember staring in awe at the number of different countries that were represented, which I guess makes sense, considering it serves a sizable Hispanic population nearby. For some reason, the Honduran beer SalvaVida caught my eye, so I grabbed a 6-pack.

The story of the Cervecería Hondureña is interesting. The Standard Fruit and Steamship Company started the Compañía Industrial Ceibeña in 1902 to produce electricity, water, ice, soft drink, and cold storage service in Honduras. In 1915, the government of the banana republic declared that the CIC could market and produce beer, and they did just that, with their first beer, SalvaVida (meaning "lifesaver") brewed the following year. In 1935, the CIC merged with the Cervecería Unión combined to form the Cervecería Hondureña. In 2001, the brewery became a part of the SABMiller family of breweries, which probably brought the beer to the states for the first time. Just last year, the brewery won the gold medal in the Australian International Beer Awards for the large brewery category, and its Imperial lager won the lager category (Cervecería Hondureña History and SalvaVida pages, the AIBA 2009 awards announcement)

Here come the stats:

SalvaVida
BREWERY: Cervecería Hondureña, S.A. de C.V., San Pedro Sula, Honduras
U.S. IMPORTER: G.K. Skaggs, Inc., Irvine, CA
STYLE: Lager
FIRST BREWED: 1916
CALORIES/SERVING: ~170 per 12 oz. bottle
BITTERNESS:
ABV: 4.8%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY:
MALTS: "Caramelized malt"
HOPS:
SERVING TEMPERATURE: 46°F (8°C)
FOODS TO PAIR WITH:
AWARDS:

Everything except the bitterness, original gravity, hops, food pairings, and awards came from Cerveceria Hondureña's SalvaVida website. I will need to either e-mail the brewery or call/e-mail the U.S. importer for the rest, if they'll give it up.

Like most Latin American pilsners, SalvaVida poured a dull golden color into my glass. It had an almost non-existent bubbly white head that dissipated almost immediately. The beer's nose smelt very strongly of hops and metal, once again very characteristic of a pilsner from that part of the world. The taste of the beer was also hoppy and metallic with a malty undertone and a carbonated mouthfeel. At first, the taste was mostly clean and crisp with almost no after taste. However, as I drank more of the beer, it started to taste bitter, and the aftertaste built on itself.

With exception of the finish, this beer is largely interchangeable with most other Central American beers I've had, and I imagine if I had some burritas, Honduran tamales, or pastelitos de carne (similar to El Salvadoran papusas, I believe) it may have complemented it better. Still, if you're interested, pick one up at your local Hispanic store.

¡Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo!

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