Mexico and Holland have been battling it out for some time to be the top beer exporter in the world. Mexico came out on top for the first time in 2003, and since then it's been a toss up from year to year. Despite the valiant efforts of the most interesting man in the world, Corona remains the top selling Mexican beer. Corona is brewed by Grupo Modelo, a Mexico City brewery that also makes Estrella, Modela, Pacifico, and Victoria beers. Their main competitor, Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc-Moctezuma/FEMAS, makes most of the other Mexican imports you're familiar with: Tecate, Sol, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, Superior, Indio, Bohemia and Noche Buena.
Corona was first brewed in 1925 to celebrate Modelo's tenth anniversary as a brewing company. It is instantly recognizable by its clear glass bottle (so is the Trader Jose knock-off). Most breweries prefer tinted glass or aluminum cans because ultraviolet light will eventually turn the oils in beer rancid. Still, despite the clear glass bottles, Corona seems to be doing just fine. It's the best selling import in both the United States and the U.K.
Interestingly, according to the Swedish National Food Agency, Corona contains less than 20ppm of gluten, while some independent tests have resulted in counts as low as 10ppm. The FDA considers anything below 20ppm gluten free, so while I can't with good conscience recommend this beer to my friends with Celiac disease, it looks like a great option for people with gluten sensitivity.
"Although concentrations gluten in beer are in line with those found in gluten-free foods should be aware that the consumption of beer leads to an increased intake of gluten. Consumption of 0.5-1 liters of beer can in some cases make a significant contribution to the daily intake of gluten." -SNFA
The face off:
Nose: Sharp and delicious, the smell of summer. Maybe I'm biased, but this lager is screaming for a fresh lime.
Taste: Full bodied and sweet, with a crunch like English cheddar.
Color: Bright straw
Nose: Lacks the distinctive characteristics of Corona Extra. Less complex, less aromatic. Mildly reminiscent of hay.
Taste: Thinner body, less complex, but still drinkable. Improves with a slice of lime.
Color: Dark straw
Conclusion: Corona wins hands down on this one. Trader Jose just doesn't carry the same complexity or the crisp flavors of Corona. Spend the extra two dollars, it's only $.33 per beer. And if you're still thirsty after you finish that six pack, go for Trader Jose.
Have you tried these Mexican lagers side by side? Which do you prefer? Leave me a note!