Suds and Supper: Pairing with Dos Equis Ambar, pt. 5

Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, California

by: Jesse Hom-Dawson

Photos by: Cal Bingham

Although wine and cocktails are popular food pairings, beer has started to join the party, providing a more casual yet tasty alternative pairing to dishes. Dos Equis Ambar, a full-bodied Vienna-style lager from the well-known Dos Equis portfolio, is what Dos Equis calls, “a beer with brawn from Germany, swagger from Mexico and the finest North American pale and roasted malts.” Munich, Pilsner, Vienna toasted malts are used to create the 4.7% ABV beer. Resulting in an adventurous and a distinctly flavorful beer that pairs particularly well with Mexican cuisine. Toting such an international pedigree, we decided to branch out from your typical cerveza and lime, and challenge six chefs from all over the U.S. to come up with a dish that pairs with Dos Equis Ambar. Check in every month to see what culinary deliciousness these creative masterminds have cooked up!

Deep in the heart of Koreatown in East Los Angeles lies Guelaguetza. Opened in 1994 by immigrant couple Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio, today the restaurant is run by their three children, Paulina, Fernando Jr. and Bricia. While being surrounded by Korean stores and restaurants may seem an odd location for a Oaxacan restaurant, Bricia Lopez couldn’t think of a better location: “It’s a unique location, but it’s the epitome of Los Angeles, a clash of cultures. Where else would you find a Oaxacan restaurant in a Korean building?” Oaxaca is a state in Southwestern Mexico on the Pacific Ocean, whose cuisine is typified by its mole sauces, mezcal, chocolate and cheese.

Guelaguetza
Guelaguetza Owner Bricia Lopez with their signature Michelada mix.

Guelaguetza’s focus is on authentic Oaxacan cuisine, with Los Angeles Time critic Jonathan Gold declaring it “The best Oaxacan Restaurant in the Country.” Their mole and Michelada mix is well-known, and sold and shipped all over the country. We challenged co-owner Bricia Lopez to pair a dish with Dos Equis Ambar; she chose the classic Oaxacan dish, taco de barbacoa. “It’s a dish that’s perfect for Sunday breakfast, and they serve it at the markets in Tlacolula de Matamoros, a city in Oaxaca,” notes Bricia. Young goat meat is marinated with chilies, herbs and spices, then steamed and cooked in its own broth. The meat gets its unique flavor from avocado leaves, a popular ingredient in Oaxacan cooking. An 18-inch corn tortilla is filled with the meat, then cut in half. “We serve the taco with broth on the side. It’s almost like a French dip sandwich,” Bricia says. Toppings of chopped onions, parsley, and jalapeño finish off the dish.

Tacos de barbacoa with steamed goat wrapped in avocado leaves.

“The spiciness and smokiness of the avocado leaf is the perfect pairing with a crisp beer like Dos Equis Ambar,” Bricia enthuses. “Anything spicy and pungent is a great match for it actually! It’s an easy beer to drink, and it pairs well with so many different foods.” Although the beer by itself is the perfect match with the taco, Bricia recommends one of their signature Micheladas—a Mexican drink similar to a Bloody Mary, made with beer. “We created a brown mix that’s less tomato-based than a traditional Michelada and more pungent with spicier, bold flavors and we top it off with a special salt. The mix paired with the Ambar really rounds out all the flavors without being overpowered by tomato juice.”

Guelaguetza Michelada
Guelaguetza’s signature Michelada, made with Dos Equis Ambar.

Whether you enjoy the taco de barbacoa with a simple beer or a spicy Michelada, it’s a unique pairing that is emblematic of Mexican—in particularly Oaxacan—culture. It’s more than a street taco, and the goat meat and avocado leaves provide a perfect spiciness and smokiness that makes this a match for any food lover.

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