Portland, Oregon isn’t necessarily the first place you might think of when you think pineapple, but if Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider has anything to do with it, you will soon.
Tepache (pronounced teh-pa-chay), is a fermented beverage that originated in Mexico and is made from the rind and the peel of pineapples. This mixture is then sweetened with piloncillo—a type of unprocessed Mexican brown sugar, which has a molasses-like flavor according to West.
Clocking in at only 3.2-percent ABV, tepache is a different kind of alcoholic drink, a category all its own. It isn’t a cider, but it isn’t a beer, either. Simply, according to West, it’s tepache.
“The fact that it’s its own category makes it hard to understand initially,” he said, “but once they try, most people are all about it.”
As for the flavor, West says, it’s very rich.
“It’s not a simple sweet pineapple candy type of thing like other pineapple drinks these days.”
Because of this, tepache needs to be cut with something else. Traditionally, the thick, murky, carbonation-less beverage is cut with a light Mexican lager, such as Pacifico or Corona, but you can use, really, whatever floats your boat.
“There’s almost nothing that it doesn’t go with,” West said.
Dark beers, champagne, ice cream, tequila—especially tequila—all of these are fair game when it comes to mixing with tepache.
For most mixtures, you’ll want anywhere from 25 to 50-percent tepache, depending on how much pineapple flavor you want.
For Belgian quads, which West said he’s been playing around with, you’ll want only around 15-percent tepache, otherwise the sweet, fruity flavor will be swallowed by the bigger beer notes in your glass.
Reverend Nat’s also makes a number of ciders, including Revival Hard Apple, Sacrilege Sour Cherry, and Hallelujah Hopricot.
For more information on Reverend Nat’s, or where you can pick up some tepache for yourself (if it’s still in stock, as it’s released seasonally around Cinco de Mayo), check out their website here.