#204 Cave Creek – Chili Beer

Name: Chili Beer
Brewery: Cave Creek (Tecate, Mexico)
Style: Herbed/Spiced beer
ABV: 4.7%
Source: Mexico (Britomart, Auckland)

The Cave Creek Chili beer has an incredible Ratebeer score of just 1 out of 100 for style, and 0 out of 100 overall. I don’t know how that’s even possible, but it suggests that this is probably the worst beer in the world.

Which is why I feel slightly embarrassed about admitting that I…. actually really enjoyed it.

OK OK. So the beer itself is crap. Probably. The thing is that you can’t really tell because it tastes entirely of the whole pickled chili that’s sitting in the bottle (and also in this case, the lime that it came with). Was it a sin to enjoy it? Probably! But I love pickled chilli and I love lime, and that’s exactly what this tasted like. I also love the slightly confusing sensation of drinking something cold and refreshing, and being left with a chilli burn in the mouth.

You can tell that without the pepper it would be pretty nasty – pale and watery like most other Mexican beer, but possibly worse since they can disguise any funky flavours with the chilli. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? The point is that they’re the only brewery (as far as I know) to put a chili in the bottle, and dammit if it wasn’t a good idea.

Now, to steer the conversation away from that embarrassing confession, I should mention that the new restaurant where I drank it – Mexico on Britomart Place – is well worth checking out. It has an awesome atmosphere, delicious soft tacos and best of all: I can actually afford it. Beer-wise the menu is a mixed bag. They have six or seven Mexican beers, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for a whopping $16 a bottle, and my beloved Michelada – only it’s terrible and seems to be made with a syrup instead of real tomato juice.

Does anyone else have any embarrassing beer confessions? i.e – is there a beer that is generally regarded as undrinkable, yet you’ve got a secret stash under your bed? Make me feel better and ‘fess up…

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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#150-157 More Mexico

Ola!

So this is it – my last day in Mexico and my last shoddy, photoless post about Mexican beers. (Coming up – a shoddy, photoless post about LA beers!).

I´m in an internet cafe right now and there´s a lady mopping the floor around my feet and glaring at me which I think could mean they´re closing, so I´ll just try to get through this swiftly.

#150 Dos Equis – XX Ambar (American Dark Lager, 4.7%). I only had about three sips of this because it was crapola. A standard commercial lager with a bit more malty sweetness. I think I prefer the Dos Equis Lager because at least that´s not trying to taste like anything.

#151 Calavera – Smoky Scottish Ale  I don´t think I´ve ever tried a smoked beer I didn´t like, and this was no exception, but it wasn´t anything to write home about. (Except of course, I am). It had a really peaty smoked aroma which didn´t come through as strongly as I would have liked on the palate – a bit like Rex without the attitude.

#152 Minerva – Imperial Tequila Ale  (American Strong Ale, 7%) This pretty much fulfilled my wildest fantasies about Mexican beer. It was aged in oak tequila barrels, which gave it a wonderful woody, rich, chardonnay-ish quality, and had a fruity hop taste that reminded me of Epic Armageddon. There wasn´t enough bitterness at the finish,  but this was still one of the most interesting Mexican beers I´ve tried.

#153 Grupo Modelo – Victoria (Vienna, 4%) From the makers of Corona comes yet another lager which tastes like nothing.  A little maltier than Corona, but still boring boring boring. Best turned into a Michelado!

#154 Calavera – American Pale Ale (5.4%) American hops! It felt like ages since I´d tasted them, which might be why I really enjoyed this one. Predominant flabours were grapefruit, honey, and a light herbiness, and although it was too sweet/unbalanced, it seemed like a good crack at the style.

#155 FEMSA – Sol Sal y Limon (´fruit beer´, 4%) Here it is folks, THE WORST BEER I HAVE EVER TRIED! It came in a can and was supposedly a Sol with lemon, but I´m fairly sure that it was just straight poison. Sol is terrible to start with, but if you can imagine drinking that with citric acid and a little lemon-scented laundry powder added, then  congratulations, you never need to try Sol Sal y Limon.

And that brings me up to date! Which is just as well because the lady who works here is turning off the lights and looks about ready to spit on me. The next post will be from LA, unless I drink too much beer and Pulque tonight and miss my early-morning flight. Quite likely.

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm  Comments (1)  

#145-149 – Disaster!

OK, so Disaster may be overstating things a little – I haven’t been held at gunpoint or sent to jail – but blogwise I’m having to admit something close to defeat.

I’ve been drinking a different beer every day, that part is easy, but my iPhone which had a few blogs and photos ready to publish once I found Wi-Fi, has been stolen. (It was actually kind of a funny story how that happened, one I’ll probably laugh at once I’m done crying.)

That makes posting a lot more difficult, and uploading photos of the beers impossible, so I’m just going to have to do a quick round up of the last few brews without photos. Forgive me! (she said, as if the world was going to despair.)

#145 Primus & Minerva – Lupe Reyes
This was my New Year’s Eve beer, and was suitably special because it’s Mexico’s first ever collaboration brew (though probably not its last, if NZ and the US are anything to go by.) It was a while ago and my notes were on my phone, but I remember it was a pretty high ABV dark wheat beer, with a fantastically festive label. It had aromas of bready yeast, christmassy spices, banana and dark dried fruits. In the mouth it was sweet and warming, with a pleasing bitter finish. Buenisimo! 

#146 Condesa – Poe Brown Ale
I wish I hadn’t lost the bloody photos because like the last one, this label was really cool – all gothic and Edgar Allen Poe like. No matter – it was one of the nicest Mexican beers I’ve had. Caramelly, nutty, with a slightly savoury (meaty even?) flavour in the mouth and a bitter finish. I think it was about 6%.

#147 Grupo Modelo – Corona Extra
Well I had to do it some time, didn’t I? I drank this at a really fantastic, crazy food hall in Oaxaca City. Possibly because there were so many exciting sights and smells round me, possible because Corona tastes like nothing, I barely even registered that I was drinking it. If I had I may have noted flavours of cereal and hay, or an empty, watery mouthfeel, but I couldn’t possible remember.

#148 Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma (Heineken) – Sol
The Sol was fantastic! And no, I’m not going deranged in the Mexican heat, it’s just that it was disguised beyond recognition with lime, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, black peppers and salt. It’s called a Michelada and I highly recommend it to anyone who finds light lager left in their fridge after a party.

#149 Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma (Heineken) – Dos Equis XX Lager
This was almost an exact repeat of the Sol – although marginally better, I still had to take to it with the hot sauce and lime. Those Micheladas are just so damn refreshing! Although I promise not to post about anymore for variety’s sake, I can tell you I may have found my go-to beverage of Mexico…

And that brings me up to date I think, although I don’t even know what day of the week it is so who knows. Not me. I’m going to drink another Michealada now… Adios!

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 10:19 am  Comments (2)  

#143 Baja – Black & #144 Hacienda – Catrina

I’ve finally succumbed to holiday laziness and am blogging two beers in one post. I imagine everyone is too hungover from New Year’s to even think about beer however, so no one will see it.

(Except for my parents. Hi Guys! Oaxaca is awesome, will email soon.)

So both of these beers had a similar problem actually. When I poured them they fizzed up and gave a big head, then went completely flat.

Now – I’m no doctor, but I think this might be because I was trundling them around on cobblestone streets and shaking them all up. If that’s the case then I have 10 more flat beers waiting for me, and they’ll all be warm too since the hotels don’t have fridges. Turns out stocking up in Mexico City wasn’t the best idea ever.

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The Baja Black (a 6% Shwarzbier) was really nice, despite being warm and flat. It had an aroma of dark stonefruit, licorice and roasty, chocolate malt, and in the mouth it was sweet with a dry finish. It lacked a little in mouthfeel, but I think it just needed some fizz.

The Catrina (Cerveceria Hacienda, Red Ale, 7%) did not fare so well. It needed to be cold and carbonated, but even then I’m not sure it would have been great. There was something slightly strange and sickly about the aroma – like caramel and feet, and the flavour, though not so bad, was a bit boring.

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On the plus side – it had a nice bitter kick at the finish, and the label is cool.

So it’s New Years Eve in Oaxaca tonight, and I have a very good feeling about it.

The main square (zocalo) here has been packed with people eating, dancing and playing music for the last two nights, so tonight should be big. In preparation I’ve put a special bottle of beer that Rodolfo gave me into some coldish water, and once I’ve found a vessel to drink it out of, I’ll be ready to party!

Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

#142 Cucapá Clásica

Cucapá ClásicaName: Clásica
Brewery: Cerveceria
 Cucapá (Mexicali, Mexico)
Style: Golden Ale
ABV: 4.5%
Source Barra Beer (Puebla, Mexico)

Who would have thought? It turns out writing a blog every day while on holiday is a giant pain in the ass. Especially when you’re in as wonderfully colourful and distracting a place as Mexico.

But I must press on – if only because these blog posts let mum know that I’m still alive. (She actually requested that I start putting my sightseeing photos up on here, but I thought that was a bit much.)

I had this at a craft beer bar – Barra Beer, in the beautiful city of Puebla, just south of Mexico City.

I’ve never been wildly excited about any Blonde/Golden Ale that I can remember, and I wasn’t wildly excited about this one, but it was still a damn sight tastier than any of the mainstream Mexican beers on offer.

It had a soft fruity hop aroma and some nice caramelly malt coming through, a crisp mouthfeel and a lingering bitter finish. It was refreshing too – just what I needed after traipsing the streets under the hot Mexican sun all day.

Hey, I just realised it’s New Year’s Eve in NZ! Hope you’ve all got some good beer to drink (but if you’re reading this, then of course you bloody do.) Have a good one!

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm  Comments (1)  

#140 Grupo Modelo – Modelo Especial

Name: Modelo Especial
Brewery: Grupo Modelo (Mexico)
Style: Lager
ABV: 4.4%
Source a bar in Condesa, Mexico City

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Hola!

So this is the first beer I drank in Mexico City, and while it was pretty crappy, it was at least big.

Really big in fact. I accidentally ordered Uno Litro thinking it would be a jug of beer that I could share with my boyfriend, but in fact it was this colossal thing that near snapped my puny wrists every time I lifted it.

Looking back at my notes I see I wrote 3 words: “tastes like lager”. By which I mean it was yellow & fizzy with an aroma of hay and cereal and a taste of soda water. No surprises really, Grupo Mordelo make Corona, and while I think this was slightly better, the distinction was minimal.

I didn’t care anyway. I was just happy to be in a rowdy Cantina, eating barbecued seafood and not understanding a word anyone was saying. It was bliss.

PS – I’ve since learned a good trick for dealing with lagers like this: just add lime juice, Maggi sauce, chilli and Worcestershire, salt the rim of the glass and voila – instant flavour!

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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