Angel City Brewery wants a seat at your brunch table, and it’s released two variations of the spicy and salty Michelada that feature the garlicky kick of everyone’s favorite Asian chile sauce.
A relative of the Bloody Mary, the Michelada features beer — usually a mass market Mexican lager — instead of vodka, and the briny cocktail has become a popular sipper at long Sunday brunches. It seems like every place serving cerveza preparada has their own spin on the idea, and Clamato, Tapatio, and other spices are common twists. While the big beer brands have marketed some prepackaged versions like Budweiser Chelada and Tecate Michelada, Angel City’s Srirachelada is one of the first packaged versions of a Michelada released by a craft brewery.
The base of the Sriracheleda is a lightly hopped ale modeled on the south of the border cervezas, that is also brewed with lime juice, agave, and pickled banana pepper juice in addition to the namesake Sriracha sauce. The bottle suggests serving the brew over ice, and while it’s not the most attractive beverage in a glass, you can’t say that it isn’t flavorful.
Angel City Brewery’s Srirachelada is available in an original and spicy version, and the latter bottle packs a piquant one-two punch of garlic and chile heat. It’s all spice at first, but the acidity of the tomato juice and the deep umami from the Worcestershire sauce support the heat. The Michelada is plenty salty, with the briny banana pepper juice adding another spicy layer. A little salt and chile powder on the rim of your glass is an authentic touch, and an extra squeeze of lime will help freshen up the flavors of the packaged cocktail.
There’s a lot going on in the Srirachelada, but the beer flavor doesn’t stand up to all the additives. There’s a bit of carbonation (though the ice in the glass knocks it down fairly quickly), and maybe a hint of hop bitterness that helps the chile burn linger a bit longer. But there’s no malt character to speak of in the 4% ABV beverage. If you’re looking for something with a little less heat, the original version of the Srirachelada is more approachable and actually finds a better salty-sweet-garlicky balance.
And if you’re splitting the bottle with a friend or two (and you’ll probably want to — a 22-ounce bottle of Srirachelada is good for about three pint glasses with ice) the Original flavor seasoned to taste is probably your best bet.
Bottles of Srirachelada are available now at bottle shops around town (including Sunset Beer Co., BevMo and Costco), and you can pick it up at the Angel City Brewery tasting room downtown. You can always, of course, mix up your own Michelada — it’s as easy as filling a glass halfway with Bloody Mary mix, adding a generous squeeze of lime, and topping off with beer (a Mexican lager, craft pilsner, or even an amber ale are all great). You can adjust the spices and additional adulterants to taste to find your perfect cerveza preparada.