Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'd have another beer in Mexico

When we were planning our trip to Mexico with Dayna and Noe, there was one usual part of traveling that didn't enter the equation for me because I didn't expect to find a brew pub or a local brewery to visit and I was just hoping to find drinkable beer period.

Now, in my efforts to tow the line between beer geek and beer snob I try to stick to the notion that my real favorite beer is the one I'm drinking at the moment. So rather than be sad that there was no Mexican brewery that made an Russian Imperial Stout or a double IPA I was hoping to find a beer that was drinkable. Since Mexican beer made me think of Corona and the skunk ass juice that you find in that bottle, I wasn't hoping for much.

When we got to Noe's hometown of Buenavista de Cuellar, he introduced me to his favorite beer - Victoria. He said it was one of the beers that wasn't distributed nationwide for some reason but was still very good. I was hopeful when I saw it in a brown bottle rather clear and in 90 degree weather, cold and refreshing are the most important characteristics that a beer can have. Luckily, Victoria was both. Nothing out of the norm, just a very decent lager that Dogfish Head might call a "lawnmower beer" and it really hit the spot whenever I drank it. It complemented both the the food and the weather down there very well. I later found out that it was made by the same company that makes Corona, Negra Modelo, Pacifico, etc. No matter, Victoria really hit the spot down there. I also found out that it goes very well with goat!

When we traveled to Acapulco for a few days we were lucky enough to have an all inclusive package at the hotel. I knew this meant that I was going to be limited on what I could drink for beer and was a bit nervous when I saw that meant only Corona. Whatever... when in Rome, er I mean when in Mexico, right?

Well I had a few things working in my favor. First, they had big BROWN bottles that it was served from, like the one on this page. So unlike every previous Corona that I had tried in the States, this beer wasn't guaranteed to be light stuck. In fact, I didn't have one skunky beer anywhere in Mexico and I don't think it was a coincidence that I stuck to brown bottled beer.

The second thing I figured I had going for me was that I was in Mexico drinking a Mexican beer. Not exactly like drinking Abrasive Ale from that was made 4 miles from my house but still much better than a beer that travels across the boarder and customs, etc. When you have that short of a shelf life for a beer, every day helps.

Lastly, I was sitting on a freakin' beach in Acapulco. Really, a substandard beer wouldn't be able to ruin my day. It was another beer that fit the bill for me and went down well. I made a point to buy a Corona shirt while I was there, but one that also had Acapulco on it. It's a good reminder to me that beer is best when it fills the need that you currently have.

The third beer that I drank several of when we were in Mexico was Negra Modelo. I actually first had this our first day in Acapulco at Amigo Miguel's. We were traveling all morning, had problems checking in and by the time we got there for lunch, all I wanted was a beer. After trying Vicky's already I figured I'd go with Negra Modelo after Noe told me it was his second choice of Mexican beer.

A combination of my thirst, my need for a beer and the price tag (right around a buck a bottle) led me to drink several of them at lunch. At the time, they tasted as good as a beer can taste. This was another beer that I had probably tried sometime in the past (like Corona) but wasn't crazy about because it wasn't as fresh as it could have been, I wasn't in the mood for it or just didn't like as much because I wasn't drinking it while staring at the Pacific Ocean. (Just for the record, it was legal for me to be drinking it in the car).

My beer experience in Mexico was actually a microcosm of my entire experience in Mexico. I really learned to appreciate another culture and their way of doing things while simultaneously realizing how much I take for granted at home. I didn't get to pop the cork off a Belgian quad while I was south of the border but I did find beer that tasted damn good at a ridiculously cheap price (we even drank a few at the coffee shop across the street from where we were staying).

I won't likely find another Victoria in the States and I'm thinking I won't roll the dice ordering a Corona in a clear bottle but I'll gladly drink Negra Modelo when the situation fits and one day when I return, I'll be more than happy to have another beer in Mexico.


1 comment:

  1. Stumbled across this article this morning.