In a world full of Mexican-style lagers, Texas' Independence Brewing Company has taken a different approach.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 27, 2017
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Revolución Saison Ale
Credit: Courtesy of Independence Brewing Co.

Tacos and beer make for a wonderful meal. And when considering which beer to pair with tacos, plenty of choices come to mind. Of course the obvious answer is any one of the many Mexican lagers that are so popular in the States: Corona, Tecate, Pacifico and Modelo, just to name the first ones that pop into our heads. But plenty of American craft breweries are also making Mexican-style beers: Ska makes Mexican Logger; 21st Amendment makes El Sully; Oskar Blues makes Beerito. However, though any of these beers will pair perfectly fine with Mexican food, none of them can say they were specifically designed to be paired with tacos – which is where Texas’ Independence Brewing Company can say, “Checkmate.”

The Austin-based brewery recently teamed up with the authors of the book The Tacos of Texas to create a beer that they claim has been brewed to perfectly pair with… yup… the tacos of Texas. “We wanted a beer that is just as complex as a taco and one that would complement the citrus flavors found in carnitas, fajitas marinade or pineapples in tacos al pastor,” Mando Rayo, one of the book’s authors, said.

The resulting beer is Revolucion Saison Ale – a slightly hoppy saison. It’s an interesting departure. Essentially all of the major Mexican beer brands consumers know in the US are lagers – typically easy-drinking yellow ones. Though these smooth brews are actually really good for washing down spicy flavors, they’re more palate cleansers than compliments, so Independence decided to take a different approach.

“The idea behind brewing Revolucion was to embrace the herbal notes found in a traditional saison while making the beer refreshing enough to drink on a hot summer day,” said Amy Cartwright, the brewery’s co-founder. “Our saison had to be on the lighter side of the style and really crisp, something that would balance out the spicy elements of tacos.” To give the brew those aforementioned citrus flavors, the brewery dry-hopped it with Summit and Strisselspalt hops. But the saison’s yeasty notes are also described as pairing well with cumin, coriander and cilantro. Yes, this beer is a bit more intricate than a Corona… even one with a lime.

The limited-release, 5.6 percent ABV brew originally launched in the brewery’s taproom earlier this month, but is now available throughout Texas on draft and in six-packs of cans. But even for those living outside of the Lone State State, there’s a lesson to be learned here: You don’t always have to pair tacos with a Tecate.