Beer Review: Pacifico Clara

YES, I do read your comments. That’s why, whilst browsing the shelves of the Bethnal Green Food Center, the name Pacifico rang a bell. That means I open this post with a thank you to the people who recommended Pacifico in the comments section of my reviews of Mexico’s lack-lustre big-name beers. For those of you, like me, who’d never heard of it before, here’s what it looks like. At least in its export version, Pacifico Clara form.

Pacifico Clara bottle

It’s a svelte, un-fussy, brown bottle. The big yellow label is equally straight forward.

Pacifico Clara front label

It’s yellow. So you can guess that it comes from a hot country. The only graphics are an illustration of a life ring with an anchor and what looks like a silhouette of land in the background. This compact square inch of nautical imagery leaves me baffled until I realise that Pacifico refers to the Pacific ocean.

That same poor grasp of Spanish comes in handy with the rest of the label. I’ve done enough of these labels now, to know that “Cerveza” means “beer”. That “Clara” means “clear”, hinting that there might be a dark version of this beer out there. And the slogan “La cerveza del pacific” means “The beer of the Pacific”. Unless, of course, I’m wrong, in which case, leave your correct translation in the comments section.

The vital statistics are clear enough for even me to read easily. This is a 35.5 cl, 355 ml bottle, and the alcoholic volume is an unremarkable 4.5%. Under all of this, it quickly becomes a dense block of multi-lingual small print and symbols. Because of the gold on yellow colours, this is nearly unreadable.

Fortunately, I can make out the main facts. First, it really is “Imported Beer from Mexico”. Not some domestic imitation of a Mexican beer (I can’t think of anything worse). Lastly it has 1.6 UK units of alcohol.

What;s on the back label? This is what’s on the back.

Pacifico Clara back of bottle

With that out of the way, we can get to the interesting part. Will Pacifico Clara be the best Mexican beer that I’ve tried? Let’s find out. For this test, I’ve cooled it to fridge temperature and I won’t be adding any lemon or lime. Because Pacifico Clara will almost certainly be a pilsner style lager beer, I’ll be looking for clean, crisp refreshment and ease of drinking.

Pacifico Clara poured into a glass

If you do what I did and try and pour it into a half-pint glass, the first thing you’ll notice is that 355ml won’t go. Seeing as most people will probably be swigging it from the bottle, that won’t be a problem.

In the glass, it looks like any other pilsner style lager: yellow and fizzy. This one does lack a head though with just the odd patch of white foam. Pacifico Clara doesn’t smell surprising either. The only odour I could detect was a variation of the same malted barley blend that all lagers have. Quite strong smelling too, I must say.

What does Pacifico Clara taste like? The first gulp was a, easy one. So was the second. No surprises and so far, everything much as you’d hope for from a lager from a hot country. If you’ve ever tried a pilsner style lager (you’re reading this blog, therefore you have), then you’ll know what to expect from the taste and flavour. That frees me up to focus on the minutiae that pleases the detail freaks so much.

There is no flavour. No surprise there. There’s almost no taste and aftertaste either. The transition from where the flavour would be to where the aftertaste is, is so gentle as to make you think you missed it. There’s a gentle, slight bitterness. That mild bitterness fades away to almost nothing. Then a barley-malt powered, mild bitterness pops up out of nowhere, leaving a surprisingly long finish. This is the most noticeable part of the entire gulp.

What am I enjoying about Pacifico Clara? Well it is clean, crisp and refreshing. It’s also very easy to drink. These are undeniable facts. It possesses all the qualities that a hot country lager is usually judged by. I like the straightforward honesty of the beer and the bottle. And I like the reports that it’s what the locals would probably choose.

What don’t I like about Pacifico Clara? The cleanness, crispness, refreshment and drinkability come at a price. And that price is watery-ness and lack of taste and character. If you want a thirst quenching, refreshing and drinkable beverage, tap water is an option you may want to consider instead. It would have the added benefit of being less gassy than Pacifico Clara.

To sum up, Pacifico Clara is different to the big-name Mexican beers by being a trade-off. It trades taste for drinkability. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it for that. On a hot day, no one would complain about a cold bottle of Pacifico Clara. In a rainy, autumnal London however, there’s something seriously lacking. All of which means that Pacifico Clara is pretty good and doing what it does. Even if few of us love it for that.

The closest competitor I can think of is Aguila from nearby Colombia. That too, opted for the watery drinkability compromise. And I’m sure you can think of others.

Is Pacifico Clara my favourite Mexican beer? On a hot day in Mexico, probably. At least until I try one that I can really love. When that happens, you’ll read about it here.

Rating: 3.3

Have you tried Pacifico Clara? What did you think? Leave your translations, opinions, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

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9 Responses to “Beer Review: Pacifico Clara”

  1. Darcey Wagle Says:

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  2. Mchll Brhgh Says:

    hahahah .. i find it funny that you chose this beer to review. having spent many holiday months in mexico, i know for a fact that pacifico is what people drink when they can’t afford a corona (which is cheaper than a bottle of water … and sometimes safer!)
    as for the rest of the mexican beer cartel, your best bet is Negro Modelo … which is considered their premium selection
    and to be honest, it still isn’t that great but it’s not BAD either …

    good luck
    :)

  3. Anonymous Says:

    im from florida and pacifico and corona cost the same dummy lol Good luck

  4. Jesus Says:

    hey I’m from mazatlan. Glad you made this review. By the way, the land that you see in the background of the illustration refers to the sealight of mazatlan, but your translations were pretty good haha :)

    You’re right, this beer is the favorite of the locals, and it’s perfect for a hot day in the beach watching the pacific ocean and the breathtake sunsets!! yumy! I hope everyone someday come to mazatlan and prove it ;) is not too expensive, and there’s a lot of americans here :-)

    Greetings from Mexico!

  5. Hugo Weaving Says:

    It just arrived on the shores of Australia and I agree it is a unique easy drinking hot country beer. What about reviewing Negra Modelo ? Good review. Keep writing.

  6. Stuart Beatty Says:

    I just bought a case because it was really cheap, half the price of the Becks I was going to buy. Willing to take a chance. And it’s absolutely fine for what I was after… light, crisp, easy to drink, refreshing, not overpowering, and no nasty aftertaste like most Australian beer. Well, Melbourne beer anyway. You want to taste something really nasty? Try a flattish, warmish Fosters or VB. I live in Melbourne, have lived in Victoria all my life, and didn’t like beer until I was 30 and tasted Tooheys Old (an actual top-fermented dark ale) on my first trip to Sydney. What? You mean beer doesn’t have to taste shithouse? Then the imports started… I’ve been in investigative beer heaven ever since. Liked your review a lot. Cheers, Stuart.

  7. J. Wyckoff Says:

    A cold Pacifico with fresh camerones or pescado by any beach along the Sea of Cortez. It can’t be topped.

  8. Rae Crothers (@RaeCrothers) Says:

    I am in Mexico right now, Mazatlan where Pacifico is brewed, and it is cheaper than water (8 pesos for 210ML or 37p). Your analogy about location is right on. Here in the humid sunny tropics, it’s probably the best beer I have ever had. When I was in your grey climes, all I wanted was to curl up in a pint of Guinness.

    The only other Mexican beers I know at this point are Corona (which tastes like skunk p***) and Dos Equis, which is even smoother than Pacifico and something I pay top dollar for gladly back home in Canada for hot summer days.

    I agree with J. Wyckoff’s comment, a Pacifico with a couple of pulpo (octopus) tacos is about as close to perfect as one can get!

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