High in the Alps above Interlaken, Switzerland sits the small, rustic village of Gimmelwald. Gimmelwald boasts a steady population of around 130 people, most of whom make their living by farming using the same tools and techniques of their ancestors. Walking the tiny streets and narrow pathways of this rural village, it is not uncommon to see Laird Hamilton lookalikes carrying scythe and pitchfork on their way to harvest hay from the steep incline of a mountain field, or perhaps driving cattle from a remote pasture to the dairy barn or butcher where Gimmelwald's cheese and jerky is produced. This way of life may seem archaic in a thriving European nation, but is necessitated by the stunning geography where modern farming implements are rendered useless.
Ready for the second installation in my Beers of Mexico series? Then quick! Name a Mexican lager whose roots trace all the way back to 1800s Germany. Give up? Before you cheat and scroll down further, think back through your memories. Have you ever tried a Mexican beer that reminded you of a pilsner (think Stella Artois)?
Truth be told, I didn't know anything about this lager when I picked it up last weekend. I'm sure I've tried it before, but never really paid any attention to its distinct notes. Expecting a mellow lager, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a flavor profile that lands smack in the middle between a Stella and a Corona.
Ready for the big reveal?
One more clue...
"Stay thirsty my friend!"
Our mystery beer is Dos Equis lager. Dos Equis is Spanish for XX, as the beer was first produced in 1897 to celebrate the arrival of the twentieth century. This beer was first crafted by a German brewer named Wilhelm Hasse who emigrated to Mexico under the short-lived Second Mexican Empire of Maximilian I (for kicks, check out the wiki on this fascinating period), hence its similarity to European pilsners. Today, thanks to the most interesting man in the world, Dos Equis remains a popular Mexican import in the U.S., and throughout the world.
Dos Equis is brewed by Cuauhtemoc-Moctezuma Brewery (CMB), one of the two mega breweries in Mexico (the other is Modelo), but it is itself a subsidiary of Heineken. CMB has been in business since 1890, when a group of Austrian and Mexican businessmen joined forces to start a brewery. Other recognizable imports from CMB include Sol and Tecate, among others.
Dos Equis Lager:
Nose: Like a Stella, with a light, sweet finish
Taste: I'd put it right between Stella and Corona. A smooth oaky start, with the distinct limey notes of a Mexican lager, pilsner hints and a floral essence.
Recommendation: If you've been avoiding Dos Equis lager just because it's too mainstream, why not give it a try, then tell us what you think!
"I need to drink less alcohol." We've all heard, and probably used, that phrase. After all, drinking less is a great way to spend less money and improve your all-around health (let’s be honest—alcohol is not on anyone’s weight loss plan). But most people have a hard time changing a habit they enjoy.
We're not talking about quitting cold turkey (if that's what you are looking for, click here). Life is meant to be lived, and all good things are here for our enjoyment. So even if the only six pack you have is chilling in your fridge, here’s five easy tips to help you drink less without even trying.
1. Start later: Cracking a cold one when you get home from work is a nice way to relax after a stressful day (if you commute, you might be reaching for something a little stronger). And there's nothing like a glass of wine while you cook to make you feel like a gourmet chef. But if your goal is to drink less alcohol, wait a little longer before your first glass. If one drink when you get home turns into two when you start dinner, and three before bed, move your schedule back. Pour the wine while you make dinner, instead of when you get home. Or save or beer for after your meal, instead of drinking it while you eat. If you wait until later to start, you’ll have less time to drink, so you'll drink less.
3. Spend more for less: Most of us are not willing to do shots of expensive alcohol unless someone else is buying. When you're home and drinking your own hard-earned money, two fingers of Jeremiah Weed often turn into a finger and a half of Jack, or a single finger of an 18 year old Glenmorangie. If you’re downing half a bottle of two buck chuck on a nightly basis because it’s cheap, find a nice $5 wine that you like and you’ll find that your drinking magically reduces to a glass a night (if a $5 bottle won’t do it, increase the price point until psychology kicks in. At some point, this will work… hopefully somewhere south of a dom perignon).
4. Drink with friends: You might need to ignore this one. If you and your roommates are putting away a 12 pack every night, you can skip this step. They are part of the problem, not the solution. But if you tend to drink alone, and you are drinking more than you would like on a regular basis, make it your goal to only drink with friends.
5. Keep an empty refrigerator: I learned this from a doctor I used to live with in Indianapolis. He would buy a huge case of Moosehead beer, but only chill one at a time. If you have a six pack in your fridge, you’ll be more tempted to drink it. If you only have one in there, you are well on your way towards building a habit of moderation and self-control.
What tips have you found helpful for drinking less?
I've always enjoyed trying new things, whether it's a new type of food, a different wine, or just a place I've never visited before.