“Way down here, you need a reason to move. Feel a fool running your stateside games. Lose your load; leave your mind behind, Baby James. Woh, Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go. The sun’s so hot I forgot to go home, guess I’ll have to go now.” James Taylor.
It seems that lately our neighbors south of the border are not getting much love. With immigration being a hot issue in the ongoing election many politicians are using increasingly stronger rhetoric to gain attention and media exposure. Regardless about your thoughts on the issue here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about Mexico. First is it has 5,797 miles of coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Secondly they have a proud heritage of brewing many tasty lagers and ales that are perfect for sipping on a beach.
Towards the middle of the nineteenth century the same group of German immigrants that would launch many of America’s biggest breweries—Pabst, Coors, Anheuser-Busch, and Schlitz—were also heading towards Mexico in search of a new life and opportunity. The government of the Austrian emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I, offered them hope. Even though his reign was short lived the brewers stayed on. They had to deal with a multitude of issues their brethren to the north never dreamed of—extreme heat, dilapidated infrastructure, and general government instability—but they kept at it.
Their beers reflected their roots and you can still see it throughout the country today. Negro Modelo and Dos Equis Ambar are both Vienna Style dark beers, Pacifico and Corona are both Pilsners, Leon is a Munich Style Dunkel. Unlike most macro beers found north of the border (Coors Light, Bud Light, and Miller Lite) their beers still retain more of the original characteristics and flavor. Maybe that is why while most imports to the states are struggling to grow, and the big three brands are in decline, Mexican beers continue to grow in popularity.
As a craft beer lover I will be the first to look for a fresh IPA or Stout on tap at my favorite watering hole, but when I find myself sitting on the coast of the Mayan Rivera like I did last week I am faced with two choices. I can go with a Margarita… always questionable, or I could ask for a cold one from the bartender. Sitting on the shoreline with a freezing cold Pacifico in hand might be one of the finest drinking experiences I have had in a good long time. Later in the week when I parked my scooter next to the ocean on the southern end of Cozumel and bellied up to the Marley bar for a Modelo I could not of been happier. There is something about sipping an ice-cold lager in the heat that is satisfying. It takes you back to a simpler time when there were no cell phones (turned off all week), the constant stream of political blather was gone, and the only thing I had to worry about was where to head to next. I might have had one margarita all week.
So with the unseasonably warm weather that has descended upon the Front Range showing no signs of letting up, and flowers starting to appear in forgotten flowerbeds, do yourself a favor and grab a six pack of one of our southern neighbors finest. Like James Taylor sang about, there is something about Mexico that allows you to lose your worries, crack one of their finest and leave yours behind this weekend.