When it comes to fast food menus best enjoyed while tipsy at 3 a.m., Taco Bell is king. But with the recent release of its very own exclusive beer, the Tex-Mex chain might be more than just a place to sober up at the end of the night. So get in, loser: It's time for figuring out where to get Taco Bell's new Mexican lager.
For the uninitiated, Taco Bell expanded into the boozy sector in 2015, opening locations known as Cantinas. Unlike your traditional Taco Bell, these stores serve alcoholic drinks. The original Cantina in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, for example, started out serving beer and "Twisted Freezes," which are basically slushies infused with vodka, rum, or tequila. Now, the company has launched its first Taco Bell Cantina in Southern California, and with it, they debuted their own beer as well. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Taco Bell Cantina in Newport Beach, California, has partnered with California-based Four Sons Brewing to develop an exclusive Mexican-style amber lager.
Beach Bell, as the lager is called, has a light red color. In a press release, Taco Bell described the brew's "unique flavor profile" as "light, crisp, and refreshing... a smooth and robust taste with a clean finish that makes it the perfect beverage to pair with a Taco Bell meal." That pairing is no accident; the company wrote that Taco Bell's "culinary chefs" worked with the brewery to create a beer that would complement the Cantina menu.
For those curious about how the first ever official Taco Bell beer tastes, which I assume everyone is at this point, Beach Bell is only available at the Cantina location in Newport Beach, California. (It officially opened on Dec. 15.) Before you start planning a jaunt to SoCal, though, you should know that the chain will only offer the lager for a limited time. Anyone dying to try the brew had better act fast. Otherwise, they'll have to content themselves with the location's other boozy offerings, which include other types of beer and the aforementioned Twisted Freezes.
Taco Bell explained to Grub Street that each Cantina is different, which is why the boozy offerings vary from location to location. Unfortunately, that means the official Taco Bell beer is unlikely to go nationwide anytime soon.
But fear not! Taco Bell is still planning to expand the number of Cantinas, even if they may not carry Beach Bell. With open kitchens, limited seating, and unique decor (sometimes designed by local artists), these locations are totally different from what you have come to expect from a Taco Bell. While Cantinas serve the regular Taco Bell menu, they also have shareable items like Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Dippers. Rather than a brown paper bag, the food is served to sit-down customers in open black baskets. They even lack a drive-through. Gasp!
If you're thinking this sounds a little like a trendy restaurant, that's the idea. Cantinas are all part of an initiative to appeal to urban dwellers — particularly Millennials, who like their booze when dining out. Taco Bell's chief development officer, Meredith Sandland, told QSR back in 2015 that in cities, "customers expect to get alcohol with their meals." Taco Bell is simply answering a preexisting demand.
Now that fast food and booze have finally joined forces, we'll have to wait and see if it's the dream team Taco Bell seems to expect. Judging from the fact that the company plans to open 300 more drive-through-free locations in the next five years — many of which, it's quick to note, will serve alcohol — things must be working out so far. Cheers!