For tonight’s review I’d like to share a Christmas gift which I received from my Mexican work partner, Miguel. He and I go back to the early days of the warehouse almost six years ago when it was still brand new and we learned by experience and hands on. No OJT (On the Job Training). It was like learning to ride a bike with no teacher. But we did it. We work well together. We’re a great team.
Over the last years we gifted each other at the holiday season. This year we made an agreement. No gift cards, no tools, no money. Just beer. We agreed to buy the other guy some beer that we thought they’d really enjoy. I bought him a couple of bombers of Delirium Tremens and he gave me two sixpacks. Two sixpacks of 2 different Mexican beers.
“You drink this beer first. When I go to visit Mexico, this is the beer that I drink. I like this beer.” Tonight it will truly be a noche de cerveza. We will partake of some Carta Blanca Cerveza, imported from Mexico and given to me by Miguel who also originates from there (Zacatecas).
In preparation for this review, I did my usual research. I dialed up Dictionary.com and queried ‘Carta Blanca’. Pfft! No decent results. I need a translator. In the Google search box I typed translate “carta blanca”. The results were mostly carte blanche which in effect is, “blank check”. I stopped there.
Many times at work I’d ask Miguel and others to translate some Spanish words and I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that a word or a phrase in Spanish could have many meanings depending on the context in which it’s used. Frustrating to say the least.
On to the Beer Advocate which classifies this beer as an “American Adjunct Lager”. What the hell? How can a Mexican beer be classified as American? I found this there:
American Adjunct Lager
Light bodied, pale, fizzy lagers made popular by the large macro-breweries (large breweries) of America after prohibition. Low bitterness, thin malts, and moderate alcohol. Focus is less on flavor and more on mass-production and consumption, cutting flavor and sometimes costs with adjunct cereal grains, like rice and corn.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-6.0%
And there we have it. Oh, boy!
Work let out and after the trip home, I grabbed the first CB. I was hoping that this beer didn’t taste anything like Corona.
I popped the top and noticed that it wasn’t a twist-off. Interesting.
The beer poured up with a surprisingly light yellow color. It made the beer almost look weak. It wasn’t the deep yellow color that we’re all used to seeing a lager have. Another surprising point was that there was hardly any head. But this was the first glass, so there was a temperature differential between glass and liquid. A medium sized population of very large bubbles raced to the surface. The aroma was slight but had a nice beery scent to it. No skunk. Aaahh!
The surprises continued as the first sip went down. The flavor was somewhat rich and had a nice snap at the swallow. There was a twinge of that European pale ale taste at the exhale but after a few more sips, that dwindled into the background.
Sip after sip went down and the tastes and flavors averaged themselves out. At the beginning was the slight sweetness followed immediately by that Euro pale ale taste similar to what Okocim and Zyviec had. The middle sort of fell flat towards the end of the sip. The snap at the end was from the carbonation, as the hoppiness of this beer is minimal.
The second beer was poured into an untilted glass from over an inch above the lip right into the center and still the head was disappointing. 3/16” worth disappeared into a foam slag almost instantaneously. But the taste was still there. Why does this beer give me wisps of the corn meal tortilla shells that’s so frequently smelled in the lunchroom at work? It may just be my imagination.
This is a good blue collar working man’s beer. I could see coming home from work and downing two or three before supper. Nothing special, just beer. The flavors could be enhanced a little more and the hops could use some tweaking but hey, it’s a macrobrew. Beer brewed on a very large scale.
This beer has a few things in it’s favor, chief among them is that it’s tastier than Bud/Miller/Coors. But by no means can this beer hold a candle to a craft brew. It has flavor and taste. Period. It’s a beer that’s meant to be drunk and to put the drinker in a better frame of mind and not really be talked about.
Carta Blanca would probably be the beer to first try to wean your friends off the crap beers that they usually drink. “Sorry, no Corona. Try a Carta Blanca without the lime.” They may start to come around. Have some Schlitz Classic 60’s Recipe and Old Style Kraeusened to back it up. And of course, some craft beers.
Carta Blanca is a decent beer and should be tried once. Then go back to the porters and ales and lagers that are more your style.
Taste: C+ > Cerveza para los hombres.
Smoothness: B- > A light lube for the mouth’s moving parts.
Drinkability: B- > They fit nicely, one after the other.
Bang for the buck: N/A > – a gift. You’ll have to check the price for yourself and decide.