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Raise a Glass with Ginger and Celebrate; Cinco de Beer-o and Carne Asada!!

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

What a great reason to celebrate fresh beer with fresh seafood. And while Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, it’s a big tasty deal in America. Here’s a bit of info courtesy of the History Channel.

So what about beer and food for this weekend? Wellllll, I think it’s a fantastic time to celebrate delicious delicate and refreshing Mexican beers and Mexican style beers with the fresh spring bounty. One beer that I go to over and over again with Mexican food is Negro Modelo. It’s well balanced (malt and hops in harmony) and goes really well with one of my favorite dishes of all time – Carne Asada. YUM!! Let me tell you why I will be saying Viva Mexico with this combination on May 5th.

Negro Modelo

Negro Modelo

The first time I had Carne Asada was in a little local restaurant on South Padre Island, Texas. It was spring break, though I was glad that my college’s spring break was before the mass hordes of thousands – so it was quieter and to my liking. I met a local who offered to take me to dinner. Who am I to refuse Southern hospitality?! We went, we sat, we ate. Oh my gosh…it was a life changer for me. In fact, when I ordered it – since I had never had it before – the serve reinforced my choice. “If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it.” Again, how could I refuse? So I didn’t. And I had one of the best meals of my life.

To this day, Carne Asada with a fresh crisp and well-balanced beer is a go to meal for me. I love to make it and I love to order it out. Unlike some other items I occasionally order when I go out to eat, I’m always pleased. There’s a multitude of reasons to support local restaurateurs. I’ll always gravitate towards the Mexican establishments. With Carne Asada on the brain.

Beer & Carne Asada: I recommend lighter bodied balanced beers, like Alamo and Negro Modela to pair with this dish. The beers should accent the freshly grilled steak (whether skirt or flank), vegetables, beans (ask for whole beans instead of fried for a change), and guacamole you usually get with it.

For a cooking tip: Beerinade (marinade made with beer) the steak you intend to use with some of the beer, a generous slug of olive oil, fresh chopped cilantro, smashed garlic, slat and pepper. Add heat as desired: I like a few dashes of hot sauce. Mix, place the meat in it at room temperature to beerinade for 30 – 45 minutes before you grill it.

Food Notes: I love love love to have a variety of best available veggies for Carne Asada. Go with what’s really ripe (not anemic tomatoes for example). Experiment with a variety – as long as they’re fresh and you grill them, they’ll be tasty. For meat, you can slice thin budget cuts and once you beerinade them, they’ll be very delicious too. Skirt and flank aren’t always readily available.

Salud and happy noshing –

One beer that I go to over and over again with Mexican food is Negro Modelo. It’s well balanced (malt and hops in harmony) and goes really well with one of my favorite dishes of all time – Carne Asada.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

Author:  Ginger Johnson

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Basil & Salt Magazine is filled with recipes, cocktails, wine, beer and travel recommendations, focusing on the enjoyment of the gourmet lifestyle. Our first issue will print and be distributed in September of this year. ~Please join us and poke the 'subscribe' button on the menu to receive exclusive content found only on our printed pages.

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