March 30, 2017
"Dos Equis or 5 Rabbit? Beer and Taste in Greater Mexico," lecture by Prof. Jeffrey Pilcher of the University of Toronto.
The history of taste, as both a sensory perception and a social category, has received increasing attention from scholars. The case of Mexican beer illustrates the challenges and opportunities of writing a history of taste. Dos Equis, now advertised as the favorite drink of the "the most interesting man in the world," was celebrated as a modern beer when first introduced in 1897 by the Moctezuma Brewery of Orizaba. Its light, clear and fizzy taste contrasted strongly with the thick, sour, funky taste of the indigenous Mexican beverage pulque, and over time, Dos Equis and other pilsners largely displaced pulque among the Mexican working classes. By the 21st century, however, Mexican hipsters seeking social distinction recovered a taste for pulque as well as craft beers, including a brand called Five Rabbit. In this talk, food historian Jeffrey Pilcher (author of "Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food") helps us understand important changes in Mexican history by examining the physical and social dimensions of taste. Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Program in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies.