SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — While walking into Xicha Brewing Co. in Salem, you’ll be greeted by vibrant colors and Latin pop music all while drinking a Mexican style lager.
The Latino brewery is honoring Hispanic culture while offering a couple of twists. Xicha Brewing offers beer options people might be familiar with that then have a special twist – such as a guava golden ale.
Ricardo Antunez, who is part owner of Xicha, told KOIN 6 News that the business is the only Latinx brewery in the Pacific Northwest.
“Obviously, all Latin American beer originates from Europe, so just trying to figure out the right flavor profiles was always fun to kind of taste things and have that stuff,” said Antunez.
The brewery usually has eight to 10 beers on tap that brewer makes himself.
On the menu, you’ll find a variety of food from various Latin American countries, such as a chimichanga – which is a fried flour burrito. Another popular dish, said Antunez, is an order of small taquitos.
It might not always be authentic, but Antunez added that celebrating Latino and Hispanic culture is what matters.
“The beautiful thing is that you see a new generation of kids coming out to eat, drinking and bringing their parents in and showing them things like how to taste the IPA and how to drink fruited beers and stuff like that,” he said.
The brewery’s name – Xicha – also has an interesting origin.
“The conquistadors, when they first arrived to the Americas, they would write back about this fermented beverage that tastes very much like their ales back home because it was fermented corn. At the end of the day, it was very similar to beer,” recalled Antunez.
As Xicha Brewing Co. looks towards the future, it hopes to take its Latino roots with it.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, the brewery will also have weekly specials showcasing Latin American countries through Oct. 15.