“A Lager-type beer with an amber hue and a distinctive light caramel-malt taste.”
American Dark Lager, 4.1% ABV
*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.
Karl: As Mexican lagers go, honestly, they’re not my favorite style. Even when I was younger and my drinking tastes tended towards macros, everyone at the bar would be jamming limes into their Coronas while I was pounding Becks. More recently, I tried a Short’s experiment at the marvelous bar 7 Monks that was a Mexican lager actually brewed with lime. It didn’t do anything for me either, though I’m sure it was head and shoulders above the likes of Corona and…well, mostly Corona. So when we were offered the chance to take a whack at Indio, I had somewhat mixed feelings.
Remember when Victoria was released? And the city kinda collectively fell in love with it for about a week? It was all Victoria on special here, hey you can get Victoria here now, hey we’ve got Victoria. And while I haven’t drank a ton of it, it’s fine enough. On the other hand, when I asked around about Indio among those who prefer this style of beer (namely after an afternoon hanging out in Humboldt Park watching some softball), I got a collective shrug from those I asked. Indio doesn’t seem to have the same kind of resonance in Chicago, based on my admittedly hyper-anecdotal research.
So…what did I think?
I second the shrug. Thin, lightly bitter on the finish, a bare flavor of caramel underneath. The color was quite nice – rich brown and some nice light lacing on the head, but as far as flavor goes, I’ll still likely defer to Modelo Negro when I’m out and for whatever insane reason I might have, avoiding margaritas. The label is cool, though.
Ryan: Unlike Karl, I was on quite the Mexican lager kick this summer. I drank a steady rotation of 5 Rabbit beers, sampled a Mexican lager/Bohemian pilsner hybrid from Cheboygan Brewing in northern Michigan and even opted for the occasional Tecate or Sol over a margarita with dinner at Cafe El Tapatio on Chicago’s north side.
You would think with all the craft Mexican lager offerings, particularly those from 5 Rabbit, that Indio would wind up being a disappointment. But, strangely, it wasn’t.
I first want to preface my tasting notes by saying I had no expectations going in. No preconceived notions. And in no way did I intend to compare this to similar craft offerings – because it’s not a craft offering. That being said, I found Indio to be pleasantly drinkable and uninsulting to the palate.
A shimmering caramel brown in color, Indio gives a hint of dark malts on the nose, and backs it up with each sip showcasing smooth and creamy caramel flavors. The carbonation is nearly spot on and there is just a twinge of hop bitterness on the finish for balance.
I actually sampled this in a pint glass and from the bottle and found Indio to be a tad better when poured into a glass. Some would argue it doesn’t make a difference when it comes to a macro-brewed beer but I thought it did. Out of the bottle, Indio seemed a tad watery, but drank with a bit more body out of a pint glass.
Is this something I would seek out on a regular basis? Probably not. But I would happily order one when presented with limited beer options to pair with a spicy Mexican entrée.