Friday, December 12, 2008


Dancers with Barrilitos on their heads.

After a week in San Miguel I'm starting to relax into the Mexican way of life. We spent yesterday at the thermals enjoying a day of soaking in the hot springs and laying about the warm lawns playing cribbage and sipping cerveza. Today we went to a church gathering in a barrio north of town called Mexiquito for a celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Food vendors sold home made gorditas, enchiladas, tamales and chicharron while throngs of proud parents paraded their young boys, (whom they've dressed up like the historical Juan Diego after he had his vision or the Virgin), around the courtyard. In the mean time, I haven't done much in the way of preparing for brewing except to browse around the markets looking for the materials that I will need for my upcoming brews and considering the local foods that can possibly be used for added flavor and cultural appeal. Since arriving in San Miguel I've been drinking a beer (lager) called 'Barrilito'. Produced by Modelo (of course), it is the only one that comes in non-returnable bottles and perfect for re-using to package my homebrew. Barrilito is the lightest of Modelo beers in terms of color and flavor, unfortunately, but is perfect if your goal is to collect the bottles as quickly as possible. The other up side is that it's cheap and has the distinction of being in bottles that I don't have to pay a deposit on and can re-cap, so I buy it and try to enjoy it. The fact is that most of the beers here are considerably lighter than what I'm use to drinking, and accepting that fact dispels the disappointment that may rise from experiencing Barrilitos. The majority of the beer in Mexico is sold in the bottle and it is required that you return the empties to the outlet that you bought it from. The idea being that you pay a deposit on the bottle and when you return for more beer you simple exchange the quantity of empties for your new purchase. I get my beer from the local 'Modelorama' aptly named because it sells all brands of Modelo exclusively. A modern day Mexican 'tied house'.
I'm getting a lot of good ideas about adjuncts and flavorings that can enhance the beer I will brew and look forward to sharing my final product with some of the local business people that I have discussed homebrew with recently. One restaurant suggested presenting a night of food/homebrew paring and just down the street from there, a store that sells flavored rum products made by a local family, was interested in selling locally brewed beer.
I'm still searching for a source for malted barley but I have an increased sense of hope since discovering a major wholesaler in Mexico City.

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