Friday, September 7, 2018

Episode 10: Dos Equis Lager Especial with Stephen Edward Wiley

Jean disasters!

I. Introduction

Before the Spanish conquest of Mexico there was fermentation: corn was transmuted into tesgüano, agave into pulque, and honey into tepache.  Soon after the conquest the first Mexican brewery was founded in 1542 by Don Alonso Herrera, but the modern genre generically known as “Mexican beer” largely emerges after 1821 and the Mexican War of Independence, the product of German and Austrian immigrants combining their techniques with Mexican ingredients.  The popularity of the beer in America’s sibling to the south particularly grew during the reign of the Austrian Maximilian I, the brother of Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria-Hungary.  Put on the throne of the Second Mexican Empire by the French Napoleon III in 1864, Maximilian ruled only briefly before he was removed from the same in 1867 by Mexican Republicans – or more accurately, a firing squad – but his courtiers influenced the Mexican alcohol market permanently.

In 1884 a German gentleman by the name of Wilhelm Hasse immigrated to Veracruz where, thirteen years later he would found his own brewery.  His brewery soon produced Siglo XX, a nod to the emerging 20th Century, but eventually his brew would come to be known by the two Xs themselves, its memorialization forgotten by most consumers. 

In fact, most consumers today, at least in the US and Canada, are more likely to identify the beer with as the higher end of Mexican beer in taco joints and with an American of Jewish Russian heritage whose career was built on his work in television Westerns and action flicks, a man most folks know as the most interesting man in the world, a man whose ad campaign single-handedly doubled sales of Dos Equis in the United States between 2006 and 2011, and tripled it in Canada in a single year, 2008.

Hoy, en Huevos Encurtidos y Cerveza Fría, estamos hablando de Dos Equis Lager Especial.

This week's theme is Ora Alexander's 1930 "You Gotta' Save That Thing." 

II. Our Guest, the Undisputed Stephen Wiley

Mr. Wiley, The Most Interesting Man in the World, Dr. Smith, & Mr. Clayman
III. Rubric

BeerAdvocate: 2.74 of 5

RateBeer: 2.08 of 5

Untappd: 3.09 of 5

ABV: 4.2%
Origin: Founded in 1897 this Mexican beer, once independent but now owned by Heineken. Now brewed in Monterrey, Guadalajara, Toluca, Tecate, Orizaba, and Meoqui, Mexico

Ingredients: Water, malted barley, corn starch/syrup (the slash isn't a typo, but what is indicated by the brand - we're not sure what that means), hops, and ascorbic acid 

Cost: $ to $1/2 

IV. Our Reviews and Talking Points

Appearance: Light gold, very translucent, carbonated but not heavily. 

Aroma: Very light, very mild skunkiness.

Flavor: Inoffensive, nothing outstanding, very middle of the road. 

Mouthfeel: Light, watery.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  

Overall: Wiley gave it a 3, Clayman a 3, and Eric a 2.75 - overall? 2.92 of 5.

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia
Providing Local Fresh Vegetables in Weekly Boxes to community-supported agriculture members (CSA) in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee using organic and regenerative practices to grown nutrient dense food.  Community-supported agriculture  is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.  Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.

Glade Pharmacy in Glade Springs, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, providing the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Springs area.  

VI. Plugs

As always, please support local breweries, eateries, artists and music - also, please check out:

Abingdon, Virginia 

Konnarock, Virginia 

Abingdon, Virginia 

Kingsport, Tennessee

Damascus, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia

VII. Recommended Reading and Viewing

Lisa Grimm.  February, 2018. "Beer History South of the Border."  Serious Eats. 

John Moorhead.  "A Brief History of Mexican Lager."  American Homebrewers Association.

Kyle O'Brien.  March 14, 2018.  "Dos Equis Doesn't Even Try to Keep it Real in its Latest Hyperbole-Filled Campaign."  The Drum.

Jeffrey Pilcher.  2017. "Dos Equis or Five Rabbit? Beer and Taste in Greater Mexico."  The 2017 Pflaum Lecture of Dickinson College.

Matthew Reitman. 2017.  "Why Dos Equis Replaced the Most Interesting Man in the World." Real Clear: Life.

Ben Rooney.  January 11, 2010.  "Heineken, Dos Equis Brew a $7.6 Billion Deal."  CNN Money.

E.J. Schultz.  March 5, 2012. "How This Man Made Dos Equis a Most Interesting Marketing Story." AdAge.

Ronald Theriot. November 26, 2015. "Dos Equis Revisited (Special Edition)." Louisiana Beer Reviews on YouTube.

VIII. Selected Advertisements

c. 2016

c. 2017

c. 2018

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