Originally published in the January 2022 Issue of the Old Town Crier Magazine
Approaching any situation with an open mind is tantamount to success in life. Life will often remind you of this fact. I was reminded of it recently, during a trip to Mexico.
We were vacationing in Cabo at the beginning of December. A fun family vacation, one of the many that my wife’s brother sets up. I love the place. It’s beautiful. The only drawback to the trip is that the flight is over five hours long. There was a time that you would be served a meal on such a flight, but not anymore. The cart came around only once. We got a drink and cookie, lucky us. Makes paying that extra $50 for the checked bag totally worth it. So, by the time we land in Cabo, wait for our luggage, wait for our rental car, and then drive to the resort, we are starved. Our villa isn’t ready yet, so we stow our luggage and head to one of the resorts restaurants for lunch.
I decide to have a beer with lunch. I know, big shock. They have the usual suspects listed: Corona, Tecate, Dos Equis, Modelo, etc. When given this list, I usually go with Dos Equis, the Modelo Negro, or the Modelo Especial. All three are good beers. I then spot a beer on the list that I do not recognize. It’s called Cabotella. And it’s brewed by Baja Brewing Company in Cabo San Lucas, which is right down the road from us. I knew that there was a brewery in Cabo, but my hopes were not high. It’s a craft brewery in Mexico. How good could it be? The Cabotella is a blonde ale. A blonde ale in the land of light lagers. I’m highly skeptical. My wife then points it out on the menu.
“Honey, they have a craft beer.”
“Yeah, I see it. “
“Are you going to get it?”
“I guess I should.”
Why not? Let’s get this over with. I remember getting excited that there was a craft brewery in St. Barts in the Caribbean when we went there. The beer was not worth writing about. This will probably be the same.
I order the beer.
When the waiter comes back with it, I’m surprised. It looks good. It has a very light blonde color to it and a good head. I take a drink. I’m amazed.
“Holy sh!t this beer is good! I mean it’s really firetrucking good!!”
I turn to tell my wife. She’s already looking at me. Evidently, I had vocalized my thoughts. And I didn’t say firetrucking.
“Inside voice.” She says, even though we are outside.
“So, you like it?”
“It’s really good.” I reply. I leave out the expletives this time.
In fact, it’s perfect. This blonde ale hit every note. It’s simple and light, with a pale malt sweetness and a biscuity flavor.
I take another sip and stare at the beer. A perfect blonde ale in Mexico. I was still struggling with the reality of it. And I had hesitated to order it. How stupid of me. Life had just reminded me: I really need to be more openminded.
We decided to visit the brewery. A little research reveals that the owners are from Colorado, a craft beer mecca. No wonder the blonde ale was so good. The brewery is attached to a hotel called the Corazon Cabo Resort, right in Cabo San Lucas. The tasting room is a giant deck that overlooks the Bay of San Lucas. It’s a beautiful day and the view is stunning. Yachts, parasailers, and other boaters are visible all over the water.
We find a table and are mesmerized by the view when the waitress approaches. I tell her I’d like to do a beer tasting and ask her if they have flights of beers. She replies yes, then explains that it is comprised of 12 beers, all 4-ounce pours. Do the math; that’s 48 ounces of beer.
We’re there for lunch. It’s a bit early. Twenty years ago, young Tim would have accepted the challenge. But older Tim would need a long nap afterwards.
“Do you have any smaller flights? Four or six small pours?”
“No sir, only the 12 beers”
My wife chimes in that she will help me taste them. We get the giant flight. And an order of their Donkey Balls. I had to order them when I saw the name. They’re lightly fried chicken meatballs. And they are quite good.
We start tasting the beers. I notice that there are only 11. That’s fine with me. There is not a bad beer in the bunch. They have the Cabotella, of course. But I start with their Black Ale. It’s smooth and malty. A delightful beer. It ends up being my favorite. Along with their Pilsner, a light, crisp, and refreshing beer. It’s great for a hot Mexican day. And their very well done, hoppy, but not overly hoppy, Session IPA.
The view and the beers were both fantastic. What a great experience. It made for a wonderful afternoon. If you have never visited Cabo, I strongly suggest you do. Plan to go to Baja Brewing Company while you are there. It’s worth the time. Get the giant beer tasting and devour the Donkey Balls. There actually is great craft beer in Mexico. I’m so glad I tried it.
Tim’s Whiskey and Cigar Suggestions
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Year
I wrote about being in Cabo, so the expectation is that I would do a tequila recommendation. We did do a great tequila tasting while we were there. But it’s January here. And I’m not recommending a tequila in January. This month’s recommendation is the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 year. It’s an easy drinking, high proof bourbon. The nose had a good amount of spice, with apple, brown sugar, and caramel. It’s sweet on the palate, but not overly so, with maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. The finish is long with oak, cinnamon, and leather. It’s 120 proof, so be careful. But at $55 a bottle, it’s a real bargain.
Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Cigar Mareva
Again, having just returned from Mexico, I could have written about a Cuban cigar. But this month, let’s stick with one you can purchase here. The Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva starts out with notes of espresso, cedar, red pepper, and cocoa. As you smoke it, the espresso remains prominent with red pepper and cedar notes remaining as secondary tastes. The cocoa becomes a back taste. As the cigar finishes, it gets earthy with some light fruit notes. Enjoy.
This cigar, and many other fine cigars, are available at John Crouch Tobacconist at 215 King St. in Old Town Alexandria.