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Taking a break tonight from the usual serious topics and turning to one of my favorite things---Beer--Mexican Beer. I know Cinco de Mayo was over a week ago--but I'm still celebrating in my own way.

I grew up in California, and even though I have been on the East Coast for over 20 years now, I still love my Mexican Beer, and Cinco de Mayo is a great chance to pick up Mexican Beer on sale. I really stock up, and so, for the last week I've been drinking nothing but my favorites.

Back when I was in High School/College the Micro-Brew Revolution had not yet hit the US. I understand that now, tons of great beer is produced in the US. We have some outstanding local stuff around here with Dogfishhead, and Flying Dog's varieties. I tried to explain to a significantly younger office colleague of mine that back in my day the only micro-brews out there were items like Anchor Steam and Red Tail. These were very expensive and not widely available options. For a CA Boy, the best options to escape from the droll US varieties of Bud, Coors, Miller, etc were Mexican Beers. I have to say, however, after all these years, my four standbys still hold up well, and I buy a ton of them every year around Cinco de Mayo. I actually find that some micro-brews are just too fancy with too many strange flavors.Do we really need berry beers? On most occasions what I really want is a smooth, clean, and COLD beer that's not 6% alcohol or more.

There are two major producers in Mexico--the Modelo Group and FEMSA. Of my top four favorites I just happen to prefer two from each. So here are my top picks--I'm sure you have your favs too, but you can't go wrong with these widely available brews:

Pacifico Pacifico comes in anywhere from $25 to $30 per case in the DC area, and unfortunately it was not on sale this Cinco de Mayo. Its' unique taste, which I just can't describe, puts it far above your other golden brews (pilsner and lager) like Corona (highly overrated) and Tecate (drinkable only with the lemon). On a recent trip to SoCal I noticed that Victoria is now imported, and it is a very good beer too, but I would still rate Pacifico superior, and not by a little bit. If you ever vacationed in Mazatlan, this is the heart of Pacifico country. For me, this is a perfect summer beer--outdoors, sun and grilling. A six pack will disappear faster than fresh guacamole.  (Modelo group)

NM Modelo is one of the two mega breweries in Mexico, and the Especial (a pilsner beer in a similarly shaped bottle) is also a big seller, but I prefer the dark version. Negra Modelo is a dark beer full of flavor, but not the heaviness of typical dark beers. As you can see from the picture--it's really not that dark either. This goes great with anything that has molé sauce on it; of course it goes down real well all by itself too.  Negra Modelo comes in around $25 per case in the DC area, $22.99 Cinco de Mayo price. (Obviously, the Modelo group)

XX Dos Equis Amber is my most frequent choice for two reasons: 1) I can regularly find it for under $20 per case ($18.99 for Cinco de Mayo) and 2) It is on tap in many places. There are many more reasons than that--but those are the two that make it easy. I really appreciate its' under-carbonation and the creamy smooth finish. I harbor no illusions that drinking XX will make me "the most interesting man in the world," but it can't hurt. Year round, this is the beer that most frequently occupies my refrigerator. I try other beers, but I always come back to this standby.  Although there is a lager version, I almost never have it. It's better than Corona, but Pacifico and Bohemia are far superior to my taste. (FEMSA Group)

Bohemia Bohemia is a traditional pilsner with a distinctive malt taste. At times, I find myself craving that unique taste, and nothing else will do. For years it has enjoyed a world wide reputation, if not as robust a distribution. You might have to put out a little more effort to find Bohemia--especially if you're in a state that does not border Mexico. Unfortunately, if I want to get this in the DC area, I have to order it from a specific store and it runs about $25 per case--no sale price unfortunately. (FEMSA Group)

So what are your favorites? Reach for a cold one and let us know. Have a great weekend!!

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