Durango's Beer Calendar Just Hit Summer
If you live in Durango and drink beer, you probably work on the same internal calendar as the rest of us imbibers: winter settles in when Ska Brewing's Euphoria is released, while summer officially kicks off as their Mexican Logger starts a-flowin'. With April here, it's out with the old, in with the new. Celebrate the emancipation of Ska's 2017 version of their 18-year-old Mexican Logger - heralded to be better than ever - on April 5th at Ska Brewing World Headquarters.
No clock resetting is necessary for this time change; all that's needed is you doing something backbreaking so you build up an appetite for the crispy, refreshing goodness of a Mexican-style lager. Curious how this beer evolved? Need some inspiration on how to earn these tasty carbs? Wondering what comparable pints can be had elsewhere in town? This (b)log's for you.
Once upon a Logger...
Four years into their brewing venture, Ska Brewing founders and owners, Dave Thibodeau, Bill Graham, and Matt Vincent, had had enough of "closet-drinking" Mexican lagers every summer. Back in those days, the Durango entrepreneurs would disguise themselves before heading into local liquor stores to purchase mass-produced lagers, for no one could know that they drank from the goblets of the evil tyrants of the fictional Rotgutzen International Beverage Corporation, that is the all-encompassing term used to describe establishments “conspiring to conglomerize and corporatize all of beerdom.”
But their days of slinking around were numbered. They thought: we own a brewery; why shouldn't we brew our own Mexican-style lager? Something to really satisfy the soul on blazing hot summer days...
So they introduced Carlos Javier to their "business plan." In the story, Javier is a sleepy woodsman in a sombrero with a punk soul that revolts against the Mexican government's banning of the siesta. Javier also contributes his frightening powers to Ska's battle against corporate brewers.
"I know, it's a ridiculous story I wrote back in the 90's," Thibodeau said in a 2014 Beer Pulse interview. "And I guess we're not very politically correct here. But everything we do is an inside joke of some kind to make our work days more fun."
Javier and his fearsome chainsaw used to be on Mexican Logger labels but were removed due to the slightly controversial nature of the graphic. Nowadays, the tell-tale green can features the chainsaw making the "Saaz" noise, which might be close to the sound of a chainsaw but also represents the type of hops used in Mexican Logger.
To capture that special Mexican Logger snappiness, Ska's brewers use fresh grains and a lager yeast strain from an anonymous Mexico City brewery. These strains were first seen in North America at the end of the 19th century when German expats began commercially brewing Vienna-style lagers in Mexico.
First brewed in 1999 and enclosed in cans in 2011, Mexican Logger is Ska's third best-selling beer annually, despite only being available five months of the year. It's also heavily decorated with bronze and silver medals from the Great American Beer Festival in the International-Style Pilsner category. This year, Ska's increased Mexican Logger production by 20-percent to help meet demand.
"Fans are entranced by Mexican Logger year after year … It has the DNA of a quality craft beer but the easy-drinking appeal of a Mexican lager," says Thibodeau. "I must say it's the perfect pairing with a long, hot day of brutal chainsaw work."
Besides chainsaw work, Mexican Logger also pairs well with mending fences, tending gardens, mountain bike recap sessions, summiting peaks, and of course anything river-related. Sending Class IV rapids? Rafting in a costume during Animas River Days? Working on your bronze? Yes, yes, and duh.
Six packs of Mexican Logger hit the shelves Wednesday, April 5, 2017. New this year is the introduction of Mexican Logger to the Mixed-Up 12-Pack that also showcases Pinstripe, True Blonde and Modus Mandarina IPA - the perfect barbecue side dish. For true fans, the seasonal release party starts at 5pm at World Headquarters in Bodo. Enjoy Mexican food from The Container and music from the Crags.
Limes provided, of course.
Variety: The Spice of Life
While a Mexican Logger represents the seasonal switch from skis to bikes and sleds to kayaks, Durango's other five breweries offer their own crisp, refreshing options for post-adventures and sunny patio indulgence. These are some of our favorites:
Animas Brewing Company: Riverside Kölsch. Kick back on their sun-soaked deck with this buttery-delicious Kölsch that pairs perfectly with a salty pretzel.
BREW Pub & Kitchen: BREW keeps locals on their toes with a lively rotation of fine brews that are based not on color but on ingredients. Find your perfect summer pint alongside a plate of fried pickles.
Carver Brewing Co.: Lightner Creek Lager. This light-bodied, light-colored American-style organic lager is perfectly balanced with a malty sweetness and clean-hop bitterness. ABV 4.4, IBU 20, SRM 2
Durango Brewing Company: Blueberry Wheat. Another summer seasonal classic, this session-able wheat ale was created for long days in the mountains or on the river. Chockablock full of blueberries. ABV 5.1
Steamworks Brewing Co.: Colorado Kölsch. A derivative of the German Kölsch, the Colorado is a light, crisp ale with a skosh of fruitiness. ABV 4.8, IBU 16.1, SRM 3.4