Important cultural research continues. I acquired my first ever Noche Buena beer. Since it’s December 22, I’ll consider it in celebration of the Posadas, the processions memorializing Joseph and Mary looking for shelter, that take place in each of the nine days before Christmas in Mexico.
Noche Buena, started in 1924, is a seasonal brew from Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, S.A. de C.V. (FEMSA), maker of Carta Blanca, Dos Equis and other popular brews. It is brewed in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
The label has the Gothic lettering Noche Buena (Spanish for “Good Night”, also the traditional Mexican name for Christmas Eve). There is a gold foil at the top of each brown bottle. The label is a poinsettia, the Mexican flower and symbol of Christmas.
Traditionally in Mexico, gifts are exchanged on Noche Buena, Christmas Eve. It is no coincidence the Christmas Holiday itself is “Navidad” (Spanish for “night”) and the saying “Feliz Navidad” literally means “Happy Night.” All this has changed with the massive cultural influence of the United States, but Christmas would be celebrated on the Eve. After a midnight mass, it was traditional for families to gather for a very late, light supper, with foods like tamales and greens in mole sauce. And a Noche Buena cerveza.
Noche Buena is about as easy to find in El Norte as Sierra Madre gold was for Humphrey Bogart. Besides Hispanic-oriented businesses, most American retailers don’t carry it. I obtained mine from the local outpost of Binny’s Beverage Depot in suburban Chicago, a fantasyland for beer and wine enthusiasts with its wide selection.
I like it. The beer is a light brown, amber color with a pleasant smell. The taste is that of a hoppy bock. Typical of Mexican beer, its lighter than German equivalents but is fuller bodied than popular pale Mexican lagers like Corona.
5.4% alcohol content in 12-ounce bottle.