Friday, August 27, 2010
Country: Costa Rica
Best Enjoyed: In the cool mountain town of Monte Verde
With its iconic logo adorning tourist T-shirts across the country Cerveza Imperial is the most popular and widely distributed beer in Costa Rica. Wherever you find yourself within the vibrant tropical republic of Costa Rica you can be assured that a cold Imperial is never far away.
Imperial is brewed by the Costa Rican company, Florida Bebidas S.A. which has a long tradition in the country and has been brewing Imperial since 1924. An industry leader in Latin America, Florida Bebidas was the first Latin American brewery authorized to produce the Heineken brand, and was among the first to introduce light, ice brew and non-alcoholic beer. Florida Bebidas currently produces 1.5 million hectoliters of beer per year and its brand portfolio includes Imperial, Imperial Light, Pilsen, Bavaria Gold, Bavaria Light, Bavaria Dark, Heineken, Rock Ice, Rock Ice with Lemon and Kaiser. Imperial is Florida’s most popular and widely accepted beer, both nationally and internationally, and thus has a dominating market share in Costa Rica.
Although Costa Ricans hold true to the saying Pura Vida, they do not uphold the German purity laws in their brewing process. This style of Beer is an "adjunct lager' meaning that the source of sugar (usually Barley) is supplemented with other grains known as adjuncts. In this case the adjuncts are rice and corn which are used in addition to traditional barley. It is not uncommon for lesser developed countries and countries is hotter climates to produce adjunct lagers due to the cost of importing barley which does not cultivate well in hot climates. Typical American mass production beers such as Budweiser and Coors are also Adjunct lagers in which adjuncts are used to cut costs.
The resulting beer from the use of adjuncts is typically not of world-beater quality but more often produces a lightly coloured lager with very mild flavours. Imperial is no exception, the beer pours as a very pale yellow with very little head. Mild hop and grain flavours are present in what tastes fairly typical for an adjunct lager. The beer is somewhat watery which can be refreshing in the tropical humidity.
Overall Imperial is not a terrible beer and in when in Costa Rica it is all you're likely to drink anyways. Appreciate this beer for it's refreshing qualities and it's awesome logo, and hey, if you're a fan of Budweisers and Silver Bullets then you may enjoy the flavour too!