Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: Ska Brewing Mexican Logger

Until now, Ska Brewing Co.'s Mexican Logger has been merely a local's favorite, a beer appreciated by a few of us in Durango while barbecuing, rafting, hiking and watching the thunderstorms roll down the Animas Valley.
Photo courtesy Ska Brewing.

This is changing. Ska recently began canning Mexican Logger, its summer seasonal, and distributing it widely. No longer will the lager be our little secret.

Ska is brewing about 900 barrels of Mexican Logger this summer, double last year's production, and distributing it to all of the brewery's markets.

Ska began brewing Mexican Logger in summer 2001. "We had been going through a multi-summer Pacifico phase, sometimes even drinking it instead of Ska beers when it was particularly hot out," Ska co-founder Dave Thibodeau said in an email. "Well, that couldn’t fly for long so we decided to brew our own beer to put limes in."

Mexican Logger  (4.2 percent ABV, 18 IBUs), is brewed with a yeast strain from Mexico City and a light helping of Saaz hops. It's Ska's lowest booze beer, and the only lager it regularly brews.

It comes in bright green cans that will probably attract lots of eyes on the shelves of liquor stores (there's some in bottles, too). Amusingly, in the fine print next to the UPC code, it says "Ale, in Texas," even though Mexican Logger is, of course, a lager.

"As we all know, Texas likes to make up their own rules despite facts, i.e. creationism vs science," Thibodeau said. "Contradictory to the actual definition of 'ale,' Texas defines it as beer over 4 percent ABW. Beer under 4 percent ABW is called 'beer.' Because the Mexican Logger is a lager we couldn’t get it approved to sell in Texas, unless we called it 'ale,' so there you go, it’s 'ale, in Texas.'"

Anyway, Mexican Logger pours a pale yellow with a white, fluffy head of foam. It's fairly strongly carbonated. Despite the low booze and hopping, Mexican Logger is surprisingly flavorful. Corona, it's not.

Mexican Logger is a middle-aged beer in Ska's history. It's not as old as True Blonde and Pinstripe, which date to Ska's founding in 1995, but nor is it a young buck like Modus Hoperandi IPA (born in 2009).

Ska seems a little anxious over how Mexican Logger will be received in its newer markets like Missouri and Texas. It's not a hop bomb, nor barrel-aged nor sour.

But it's clear that people enjoy Mexican-style lagers. Corona is the no. 1 imported beer in the U.S., and more and more American craft breweries are doing their own. One worth mentioning is Del Norte Brewing in Denver, which brews a whole lineup of Mexican-style lagers.

For a decade, Mexican Logger has been a well-liked summer seasonal in Durango. I bet it'll do fine out in the big, wide world. B

14 comments:

  1. Good luck out there little Logger! Good review Chuck.

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  2. Have it in my fridge in Denver already. The green cans are great, and I've found it tastes great in my only surviving "pilsener" shaped pint glass from my college days visiting Steamworks on Thursday nights. Tasty. Refreshing.

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  3. indeed it will (do fine in the big, wide world, that is). mexi logger has truly been my favorite beer for several years. not an exaggeration.

    unfortunately, the ska boys did such a good job with modus, i now have a new fave. i will continue to drink both. repeatedly. yay ska.

    sweet blog, chuck.

    -mc

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  4. I wish it was a buck cheaper per 6-er- less malt and hops than a regular Ska, and they are meant to be the Ska to have when you're having more than one. That will limit my purchase of mass quantitites for river trips etc.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice. Glad to hear we'll be getting this beer in Texas. I knew that cans were coming, but was concerned about the whole ale/lager thing. That ridiculous rule keeps many good beers out of my home state if breweries don't want to make counterintuitive label changes for one market. At least we're a big market!

    The TABC - protecting Texans from themselves, one silly regulation at a time.

    I've enjoyed this beer in Durango many times. Glad I can enjoy at home this summer!

    ReplyDelete
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