Imperial: A Very Yellow Beer

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imperial-on-beach.jpgThere is something romantic about having a cold beer in the tropics.  It was hard to put my finger on at first---the beer is not particularly good, most of it isn't particularly famous, and it's something beyond the "tropical paradise" cliché that folks seem so hung up on.  I finally got it:  the sweat on the bottle.  Leave a beer out in the humid heat for a minute here and its frosty surface is glistening with so much icy condensation that I feel like I'm in the middle of a Budweiser commercial.

This week's beer review is on Costa Rica's iconic brew, Imperial.  A domestic lager suitable for comparison with Budweiser or Coors, it is a pale, straw yellow with a thin white head and fine effervescence.  The flavor is not remarkable.  It tastes a little like corn syrup that's been fermented dry, with some sweetness and no detectable hops.  It is, however, almost as thirst-quenching as water, and at just 4.6% ABV, one can drink nearly as much of it.

If you are going to stick with a light beer down here, you might be able to do worse than Imperial.  In fact, check back next Friday and I'll see if I can find something for you.


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With a slightly richer color than Imperial, Pilsen is also drier and has perhaps a hint more hops.  It thus ranks as a superior beer to its yellow-labeled brother, but not by much.  And superior is such a strong word for... Read More

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