MEXICAN HEFEWEIZEN? This bizarre marriage actually becomes logical with a bit of consideration. What with the limitless stream of Vienna-style lagers brewed south fo the border it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that a Mexican brewery would eventually attempt another classic Alpine style. And whereas in Bayern this highly carbonated and refreshingly wheaty beer is an ideal summer companion, in Mexico the sun shines hot enough for a Hefeweizen to be an appetizing prospect year round. And so we come to Immortal Beloved from Cerveza de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead en inglés).
Billing itself as Mexico’s first “first fully developed, fully accessible craft beer” company, Day of the Dead brews its beers in Tecate, Mexico, right upon the border with the United States and less than an hour east of Tijuana. The city was indeed the original site where Tecate beer was brewed, though DotD comes instead from the facilities of Cerveceria Mexicana. It’s a difficult to determine whether DotD is actually a craft brewery contracting out of a larger facility (100,000 BBL capacity) or the latest peek-a-boo act performed by a major brewing conglomerate. Some speculate* that MillerCoors is the muscle behind this brand and its sudden deployment in more than 30 states despite existing for barely a year.
Whatever its bankrolling, Immortal Beloved is DotD’s traditional Hefeweizen—no peppers or other Latin-themed adjuncts like 5 Rabbit might employ—and not a bad one at that. After pouring a traditionally hazy golden with a moderate (for the style) white head, the beer’s aroma leads with bubblegum and banana esters, less so the clove or yeastiness more common to German archetypes. There are some other ethyl group esters in the aroma, too—a little red apple, perfume, and maybe even a bit of apricot. Head retention is subpar despite a constant stream of small bubbles through the hazy body.
Wheat and grain are also unusually prominent both in the aroma and on the palate, along with a little trace of water near the finish. Carbonation is rather high and pinpricking, but it neither binds with the wheat crispness nor dissipates the beer over the tongue, which implies a relatively full body for the style. The finish is mildly metallic and a touch one-note, almost akin to a solid but unspectacular homebrew. A small touch of alcohol emerges in the finish with a vigorous swirl, otherwise Immortal Beloved is only mildly bittered and on the whole more sweetly oriented.
Part of the best before date has been effaced, but it on the whole does taste a smidge old; a fresh sample might have earned a couple points higher, though it likely was never too complex a profile. A more pronounced phenol edge would have given the beer more depth and made it a better pairing for food—especially the spicy, smoky kinds of flavors found in prime Mexican fare. But the brand is yet young, so perhaps these tweaks may yet be made.
Served: 12 oz bottle best by ??/07/14
* – The Chicago Reader’s Philip Montero conducted some admirable sleuthing work, but DotD’s American importer and sales VP claims DotD is all craft.