Chicago Tribune collaborator, beer expert and author Josh Noel has tasted all the imported Mexican beers he could find in the Chicago-area stores and restaurants to rank the best. And here they are, from lowest to highest ranking. Each beer is listed with its name, followed by the beer’s style and tasting observations and remarks.
Chef Diana Davila ran the first part of our meal to the table. It was two tacos, one robustly meaty and salty, the other a nuanced, layered vegetarian delight. She set the plates down with a smile and began to walk off. It was a lively Saturday night in her shoebox of a restaurant, but I stopped her.
“What’s your favorite beer on the menu?” I asked.
She began to answer, then stopped herself. Clearly she expected me to ask her favorite dish at Mi Tocaya Antojeria, the Logan Square restaurant that Davila opened in March as a love letter to her time living and traveling in Mexico.
The beer list was built of six Mexican imports — Corona, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra, Pacifico, Sol and Victoria — and one local craft beer on draft. In the spirit of a menu that seemed to be pushing me toward an imported Mexican beer, I chose Victoria, mostly because I couldn’t remember how it tasted.
In a happy coincidence, Davila replied, “Victoria is my favorite Mexican drinking beer.”
The label on my beer bottle faced away from her so she spun it around and brightened.
“Perfect!” she said.
That cold 12-ounce bottle of Victoria had arrived at our small table with a thud — a handsome bottle with a white-and-yellow painted label featuring “Victoria” written in elegant cursive with long sloping lines curling off the “V” and the “A.” A sliver of lime poked out from the rim. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been served a beer in a bottle. Or the last time I’d resisted the urge to ask for a glass.
To see exactly what I was dealing with, I cast aside the lime and took a swig.
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