Max & Carlota’s Mexican Vienna Lager

Max & Carlota’s Mexican Vienna Lager

Availability: May 10th til it’s gone! Pilot release as are draft only at the brewery.

Style: Mexican Vienna Lager

Description: Clean and malty

Overall impression: smooth, elegant malt character derived from high quality German malts, with moderate strength, balanced profile and clean finish.

Aroma: moderately malty with bready and caramel notes – a hint of herbal floral hops

Flavor: rich bready caramel malt character up front with just enough hop bitterness for balance.  Low herbal hop flavor clean fermentation profile and moderately dry finish with lingering malty notes. 

Body: Medium light moderately carbonated smooth

OG: 13.3   ABV: 5.4%   IBUs: 24

Hops: German Magnum and Mt Hood

German Pilsener and Crystal malts from our friends at Stone Path Malts in Wareham, plus black malt.

Classic examples of style: Dos Equis Amber, Negro Modelo ( but our version uses much better malts)

The Name – About Max & Carlota

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Vienna Lagers, much like the fabled city of Vienna itself, is European.

What might surprise you, however, is that Austria is not the world’s leading producer of Vienna Lagers. In fact, production of this beer is practically non-existent across the European continent.

Vienna beers, however, are alive and well. In fact, the style is extremely popular in Mexico.

To understand why, it is first necessary to understand the colorful, romantic, and tragic story of Ferdinand Maximilian and Maria Charlotte.

Please note that full credit for our research on this story goes to Cerveceros de Mexico — original story published in Spanish here.

Max and Carlota, of Austrian origin, were appointed Emperor and Empress of Mexico by Napoleon III of France in 1864. Good-hearted but oblivious, the couple went as far as changing their names in order to better relate to the Mexican people. (Charlotte is still remembered as Carlota.) However, the true reason they were appointed was to serve as pawns to Napoleon’s empire — a fact which became quickly apparent shortly into their tumultuous rule.

Napoleon’s manipulative master plan was finally revealed when he ordered Maximilian to rescind the Reform Law, which would return the land and power over Mexico back to the Catholic Church. Maximilian, being the honorable man that he was, refused to carry out the order. He would not be a part of this treachery against Mexico when he had come to bring them into what he termed “the Golden Age of growth and enlightenment.”

Carlota decided to return to her homeland alone in order to enlist the aid of her Royal family members. In the end, the extreme stress of the situation and the distance from her love Maximilian, pushed Carlota into a mental and emotional collapse. She then found herself in seclusion at a mental institution in Laeken, Belgium, where she would spend the rest of her days until meeting her tragic end in 1927.

After Maximilian refused to carry out Napoleon’s orders, the French troops stationed in Mexico for Maximilian’s protection returned to France, leaving him without support or protection. Though Maximilian and his diminished army fought with honor until the very end, they were inevitably defeated. The general of Juarez’s army offered Maximilian the chance to save his own life and escape. He refused, knowing he could not live with himself if he was allowed to escape while his generals were left behind to be executed.

Maximilian met his end at the Hill of the Bells in the state of Queretaro, never learning the fate of his beloved Carlota. Standing in front of a firing squad, he was given the chance to utter these final words: “Pardon everyone and pray that all pardon me. I hope that my blood flows for the good of this earth. Viva Mexico!”

Maximilian and Carlota’s legacy does still live on in many ways, however. During Maximilian’s rule, Austrian culture made its way to Mexico, and mixed with local customs in a number of interesting (and sometimes delicious) traditions. As you may have guessed, the Mexican Vienna Lager is one example of this.

It is worth noting that two very influential brewers had already made their way to Mexico and begun producing Vienna Lagers in the country before Maximilian took power: their names were Anton Dreher (of Austria) and Santiago Graf (of Switzerland.) However, there is little doubt that these men owe their success in large part to the cultural changes which occurred during the reign of Max and Carlota.

It’s also worth noting that the first Vienna lagers were sweeter — while modern Mexican Vienna lagers place a larger influence on toasted malts and bitter hops. But that’s a matter you will have to decide for yourself when you try this delicious beer at Cape Cod Beer. We can’t wait to see you!