Beer Review: Dia de los Muertos “Death Rides a Pale Horse” blonde ale

At the end of July it was announced that Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexican pavilion would start carrying Dia de los Muertos beer at their bar. Naturally, we thought that was a great time to try it out ourselves.

Dia de Los Muertos Blonde Ale: new beer coming to Epcot's Cava del Tequila

But first, a little backstory…

Like the ancient Mexican holiday it is named after, the Dia de los Muertos brewing company/beer brand is quirky, mysterious, and difficult to fully understand.  On their packaging, they claim to be “Mexican craft beer” but it seems like they sprouted from the earth, fully formed, just a few short months ago.  And now their beer is distributed across the country?  I find that rather hard to believe.  If the company is indeed older than they appear, they’ve done a good job of masking it.

As it turns out, trying to get some solid information on the DDLM beer company from the internet was harder than using Google Earth to pierce North Korea’s cloak of secrecy.

The DDLM brewing company has an official web address, but their site is apparently under construction and they direct to you their Facebook page instead.  This wouldn’t be too suspicious if it weren’t for the fact that they’ve been awfully busy on their FB page the last few months, and all signs point to a brand-new internet and social media campaign beginning in May 2013.

Then there is the trademark issue.

We all know by now that on May 1 of this year, Disney tried to copyright “Dia de los Muertos” because Pixar is making a movie based on the holiday.  However, they were met with such a vicious backlash they withdrew the application.  Despite the uproar over Disney’s cultural gaffe, it seems that The Molson Coors Brewing Co. also filed a patent application for “Dia de los Muertos” just days later, on May 9.  (Let’s not forget that “Dia de los Muertos” is apparently already trademarked by a Texan production group, according to the article.)

This smells an awful lot like a Big Beer trying to start up a little guy and claim craft.  See, e.g., Blue Moon, Third Shift, Shock Top, etc.

On the other hand. RateBeer seems to indicate that DDLM beer is produced by the Mexicali Beer company, whose website states that they got started in 1923 and produced beer for over 50 years before closing down, but now they’re back up and running!  Of course, they left out any information about how they got back into business.  Perhaps The Molson Coors Brewing Co. bought them up and flushed them with capital?   However, their website also makes no mention of DDLM beer, which could mean many different things.

In the end, putting all conspiracy theories aside, let me say this: I’ve tasted the beer and the beer is good.  I don’t really care if DDLM, Molson Coors, or The Disney Company produces this beer.  The “Death Rides a Pale Horse” blonde ale is damn good.  It is exactly what you’d expect a Mexican craft beer to be: light, smooth, drinkable, but utterly tasty and slightly complex.  It’s not going to reinvent the craft beer market, but it IS going to pair very well with your tacos, guac, and carnitas.

Dia de Los Muertos Blonde Ale: new beer coming to Epcot's Mexican Pavilion ... Cava del Tequila

So, until the official website launches, or I develop the patience to scour the Big Beer companies’ financial resources to see if they’re behind this, I can only tell you that 1) this beer is delicious; 2) it will pair very well with Mexican food, not surprisingly, 3) the artwork is some of the best on craft beer I’ve ever seen, second only to Speakeasy; and 4) you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking it down at your reputable craft beer distributor.  If I can get it at a grocery store in Queens mere months after their apparent debut, you should have gotten it already or will get it soon.

The only other question is, do you think Disney-Pixar will do a promotional tie-in to this beer for the film?

Posted by

A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

5 thoughts on “Beer Review: Dia de los Muertos “Death Rides a Pale Horse” blonde ale

  1. I was also wondering about the origin of these beers but hadn’t get quite as far as you did. I also haven’t seen any of the line around here yet but maybe I missed them or maybe they’re not approved for TX yet.

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