Mexican Wobbly Ginger Tosser

That’s a headline that should, in theory, grab some attention. But there’s no slur or slander involved. First impressions may count, but shouldn’t be counted on. Because today’s quick scribble is inspired by a story and a day out, with England meeting Mexico in a beerfest of a post.

The story, published on the Herald.net, starts “A teetotaling Mexican hotel worker travels to England, befriends a whisky-drinking Irishman and scrubs toilets in a pub while learning to brew killer beer.” Mexicans love their ceveza, and so does the rest of the world. The country is the world’s 5th biggest producer or exporter. I don’t remember which, but no matter. The point is, they’re a big player, producing in the Premier League along with the likes of Germany, the Netherlands, the Aussies and the English.

Dare I mention US beer? It generally has a terrible reputation outside of the country, although I can tolerate a Miller Genuine Draft. Seeing as I’ve spent so much time in Milwaukee. Just a half, mind you. At most. By and large I’m a tee-totaller. I’m sure ‘tea-totaller’ must be an American word, even if I’ve used the double ‘l’ Anglicised spelling. In England I believe the correct word is ‘freak’.

I love the smell of beer though, and if I am going to imbibe a little, my favourite tipple is a mild ale. Another sign of me getting old, I fear. I used to drive past a local brewery every day, and would open the visor of my helmet to breathe in the warm, malty aroma that seeped from the place.

And just a week ago I attended the 2nd Big Bournemouth Beer Festival, with more than 200 ales, porters, bitters and ciders from around the British Isles available for tasting. I didn’t get terribly far.  Including smaller samples to supplement the two halves I purchased, I think I got through just five. But it was still worth the visit.

The free taster’s booklet was fantastic. It listed everything that was on tap, complete with barmy names and dubious descriptions. ‘A pale straw coloured ale with a strong citrus hop aroma’ gives you an idea of what to expect when downing Barngates’ Cat Nap. I can dig that description. But there were some frankly bizarre examples. One had as many twists and turns as Coronation Street, apparently. How many beers had been drunk and just how sozzled that reviewer was remains a mystery. But I can guess.

But it’s the names of English beers that I really like. Pheasant Plucker, Sheepshaggers Gold and Fenny Popper don’t strike me as drinks that would go terribly well with Brewer’s Droop. The latter might go well with a Skinner’s Ginger Tosser. A combination that is, I imagine, less embarrassing. Although probably better in the long term than having a run in with Potton’s Village Bike. Bitter and Twisted and Whingers Bitter are highly recommended for England football fans after their latest flop in a major tournament. They’d also probably appreciate a pint or three of Northumberland Bucking Fastard. Just to help get things off their chest. And I’m really not making these names up, by the by.

But back to the story of Mexicans learning the microbrewery trade and taking it back home. I think it’s a great idea. It’s a part of the beer producing industry that hasn’t been exploited very much in Mexico, but I’m sure there’s a market for it. I mean, people are still swilling millions of gallons of pulque for goodness sake.

But they need to come up with some imaginative names for their new brews. A Tepito Tit Whacker anyone? How about a Tlalpan Saucy Surprise? My imagination is running low. Any pithy suggestions are welcome in the comments section. Or you could seek out Jose Morales and see if you can impress him enough to have your literary genius bottled.

10 Comments

  • Don’t forget Negra Modelo on the darker side of Mexican beers. But most seem to be claras and (bracing myself for flames here) not all that wildly different than American beers, though I would aver that they are generally better and more flavorful. (Or should I write flavourful, given the provenance of this blog?)

    As for microbrews, it’s an interesting question. Mass market Mexican beers in Mexico are dirt cheap. Given the economics of production, I wonder how much of a market there’d be for something more expensive, outside that Polanco Posse.

    Hope you are faring well back in Blighty.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we favor our local Harpoon IPA one of the best craft brews you’ll find anywhere.

    • Both flavourful and flavorful are equally acceptable. I’m still recovering from my six year exposure to US English – I regularly use that alongside my native variant of the language. Sometimes in the same sentence. Must stop it.

      As for the success, or not, of microbreweries. I would imagine by their nature they would be designed to fulfill the needs of smaller markets. Perhaps they need not, to begin with anyway, aim much beyond the boundaries of the Polanco Posse, the Gringo Gang and the up and coming Middle Class Clan.

  • Gary, the idea of a local microbrewery in Mexico is great, but probably a bit more difficult to get off the ground than in the UK or the States. We had a fab one in Horndean down by Portsmouth, and their HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) was my favorite. Here in NC we have the Aviator ( http://www.facebook.com/#!/AviatorBrewing ) just down the road from us, and we do enjoy the occasional pint of “Devil’s Tramping Ground Triple” on a warm evening with the mutt out on their back deck. Have a butchers at their brew listing…
    They actually had a microbrewery open up in San Miguel de Allende on the road to Delores a little over 2 years back, but I believe it has changed hands a couple of times since then. Now it’s named the “Blue Iguana”.. Tough times to try getting a fledgling brewery off the ground!
    I’d love to give a pint of that “Bucking Fastard” a go! So if you can post us a growler????
    Cheers! Dan in NC

    • I can imagine the bureaucracy and general nonsense that has to be battled in Mexico is substantially more troublesome than that in the UK. Which is pretty troublesome to start with.

      Dan, when I return to Mexico one day, I will do my best to bring a Bucking Fastard with me, and we can share a beer somewhere in DF!

  • There will be a Festival de Cerveza on the weekend of May 15 and 16, at the Palacio de Artes in Morelia. German beers are to be highlighted. We’re going to be in Morelia the day before for a baptism. I might have to check out the Cerveza Fiesta, in the interests of food research.

    Maybe we’ll see Tancho there?

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  • Interesting thought, microbreweries in Mexico….. I wonder how the average Corona and Tecate drinker would enjoy hearty stouts? Probably would think they were too thick and heavy…
    I wonder if the investment opportunities and sales prospects have been checked out?
    After all you said it, if they drink pulque, they can drink anything.

    • Well there are some darker beers of German (Maximilian) origin/inspiration. So there is a taste for it. Though I’m not sure the heartiest of English beers would go down well on the coast.

      Mexicans do like foreign and exotic goodies as well. Though the import taxes normally make them prohibitively expensive for all but the Polanco Posse. So home brewed stuff might well be the order of the day. Perhaps when I return I’ll take a selection of ales with me to see how they go down!

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