Let’s throw a couple back for National Beer Day (April 7). Whether you like a light ale or a thick stout, beer comes in thousands of styles and flavors from all around the world. If you like beers from Mexico, you’ve probably tried a few of the traditional ones you could order at a bar or pick up at your local grocery or liquor store (Tecate, Pacifico, Modelo, Corona and Dos Equis). But how about some of the lesser-known beers from around Latin America that might be harder to locate? Or the more interesting commemorative beers that have been brewed over the years for special occasions or in honor of someone famous?
Here’s a look at seven not-so-common beers from across Latin America. Grab a few limes and let’s celebrate. ¡Salud!
Founded by German immigrants in Perú, this beer has a history going back over 110 years. The bottle features an image of Machu Picchu and comes in blonde, black, red and wheat varieties. In 2000, during a TV commercial shoot at the Inca ruins, a crane fell and damaged some of the landmarks.
This lager-type beer has been brewed by the National Bolivian Brewery in the city of La Paz since 1886. It is made from purified water from the Andes Mountains, which makes it very hard to brew it anywhere else in the world. In 2015, actor Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) drank a Paceña during an episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
This beer launched as Brahma in Brazil in 1888 and has since been manufactured across Latin America in countries like Argentina, Paraguay and Venezuela. In Guatemala, it’s known as “the beer of friends” and is bottled under the name “Brahva.”
Brewed in Venezuela beginning since the early 1940s, the beer has an image of a polar bear on its bottles and comes in the varieties “Polar Pilsen,” “Polar Ice,” “Polar Light” and “Polar Zilch,” which is a nonalcoholic version. In 2016, beer production had to be suspended because the economic crisis in the country made it hard to access barley.
Cola & Pola
The Colombian shandy is a mix of beer and champagne cola, which is a sweetened carbonated beverage, sort of like a soft drink. It was invented in 1902. Cola & Pola was named after Policarpa Salavarrieta, aka “La Pola,” a female Colombian seamstress who spied for the Revolutionary Forces during the Spanish Reconquista.
In 2007, a Guadalajara-based company once brewed a commemorative beer called Malverde that they named after the “narco-saint” of drug traffickers, Jesús Malverde. Although the existence of a real person named Jesús Malverde cannot be verified, he has become a legendary figure among Mexicans in the drug trade.
In 2009, a group of Mexican businessmen created a commemorative beer in honor of Argentine professional football player Diego Maradona, who died late last year. The beer was the first in a series called “La Liga Cervecera” (The Beer League), dedicated to legendary football stars. It was able to skirt branding laws because it doesn’t actually use Maradona’s image on the bottle.