Denver's Del Norte Brewing will release its fifth beer in bottles in May, appropriately labeled Cinco. And since the brewery only produces Mexican-style lagers, the name also brings to mind Cinco de Mayo, an American holiday when beer is de rigueur.
"It's a lighter, more carbonated version of Orale [one of Del Norte's other beers]. It's an interesting beer, like a very, very fresh version of a Tecate or a Pacifico," says Del Norte co-owner Jack Sosebee.
But don't even think about adding a certain green citrus fruit to your Cinco or Orale: "They taste great with a lime, but we don't encourage that. We don't need to cover up off flavors like commercial beers do because our beers are fresh and local," Sosebee explains. "We don't need some stinkin' limes!"
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Although planned as a summer seasonal, Cinco has received a good reception on tap at Del Norte's new tasting room (now open from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and whenever the staff is around), and Sosebee says he could see it becoming a year-round offering.
"A lot people are starting to look at is as a 'light' beer, and that's an interesting niche because there isn't much in the way of light craft beers out there," he explains. And while most microbreweries are experimenting with bigger and bolder beers, Del Norte is probably the only craft brewery in the United States that produces only Mexican-style lagers. "We are clearly the microbrewery that is running counter to that trend. A lot of people are saying they are hopped out. We are the oddballs."
Del Norte's two staples right now are Orale and Manana, an amber beer, which are both available year-round in six packs. The brewery also released a delicious winter seasonal, now mostly gone from the shelves, called Luminaria Bock.
At the tasting room, the guys from Del Norte will sometimes break out some of their competitors' beers from down south for side-by-side taste tests. "We love doing that because we'll always win that battle," Sosebee says.