Time again to Review and recommend some beers for an upcoming holiday. The holiday we’re counting down to this time is Cinco de Mayo. Despite what we norteños think, it is not the “Mexican Independence Day”. That’s September 16. This holiday celebrates the Mexican victory over the invading French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Okay, so the French invaded again the next year and installed Emperor Maximilian I, to bleed the country for the benefit of Napoleon III. That only lasted a few years longer than the last occupation. But on to the holiday:
Our first selection is from Bedford Park’s own Latin-flavored brewer, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. It’s one of a series of fruit beers based on Paletas, Mexican Popsicle-style ice treats in Latin fruit flavors, usually sold from pushcart vendors. The beer base is a light wheat ale, with some matching spices added, too. So far, 5 Rabbit’s Paleta beers have come in Watermelon, Tamarind, Sandia, Mango, Guava, and the current patient, Prickly Pear.
The clear bottle suggests a low hop load, to avoid getting skunked. It’s fruit colored, of course, a bit cloudy, with some sediment in the bottom you may want to swirl up before opening.
The smell is mostly fruity, with a pinch of bread dough from the yeast and spice. The taste is indeed fruity, perhaps starting out a bit like cantaloupe, but also dry and tart. Perhaps there’s a touch of salt in it too. It wraps up with a bit of a minty aftertaste.
This does qualify as a sort of novelty fruit beer, but it has character, unlike any number of megabrewed “Shandies” or fruit-flavored “hard sodas.” The Paletas line is all 3.5% abv, but it may have more unfermented fruit sugars to help make it filling.
Note: I purchased this beer for review. Watch for a few more previews of Mexican style lagers.