Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy Hour: Beer in Other Countries

In my travels through Central and South America, I have discovered a few very important lessons about beer. 

Lesson One
Truly good beer (as in craft beer) is almost impossible to find in the countries I have been to.  However, there is one gem that I have found to be a real delight. Tucked off to the side of Old Town Panama, there is a small craft brewery called La Rana Dorada (in English - the Golden Frog). I don’t know where the owners or the brewers came from, but with a full selection of beers made in house, this place is a true craft brewery. They are the only place I have found outside of the states that has really good beer complete with my favorite, the porter. If you’re worried about your selection and you are headed to Panama, they have an IPA , lager, and a few other beers on tap, all made small batch, and all in house. 

Lesson Two
Avoid the local beer in Peru. I’m not normally one to rule a beer completely out, because everyone has their own taste, but I can honestly say that their beer was plain awful. However, what they lack in beer they make up for with pisco sours. If you get the opportunity, in Peru or Chile, these are an absolute must.

Lesson Three
The United States really needs to quit being stingy with our beer and share the good stuff with the world. The only American beers I have seen in these countries are Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Personally I think we need to share our great fermented barley and hops with these countries that have come to believe that Americans don’t know good beer because all they get is mass produced beer. 

There is something to be said about the beers they do have in these countries. I have become a bit of a fan of Imperial, Balboa, and Pacifico. None of these are beers that I will go out of my way to find. However, they are not bad beers (in my opinion, better than our exported beer) and every once in a while I do find myself craving an Imperial. 

So, for all of you sailors out there who are afraid of what you may be stuck drinking in these countries, fear not, for there is always a port in the storm. The standing rule is, that every country has people who love their good drink. My advice, find someone local you can communicate with (language barriers make it a little tough) and see what they like to drink. You may find yourself down an unusual but tasty rabbit hole. 

Last piece of advice - if you are ever in Roatan Honduras and someone asks you to try their local liquor, don’t… just don’t. It’s been two years and I can still taste that awful liquid. 

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