One remarkable difference I've noticed in San Miguel this year compared to last is the improved variety of beers available. Last year, I could only find Modelo products and a smattering of Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma with their Bohemia Classic being my beer of choice. Now there are a couple of new bars that have a limited but unique selection of imported beers from Germany and Belgium.
El Gozo is one such bar. It has the feel of a downtown Mexico City 'stark modern' look to it with it's blood red walls and corrigated steel panels. The matching red and aluminum furniture give a cold feeling to the place. On the other hand the bartender Jose was very friendly and warm with his clientele and spoke very good English.
Jose handed me a printed list of the specialty beers that he had and pointed to the bottles of each on display behind the bar. El Gozo, 'cerveza alitas' located on Zacateras next door to Cafe Monet has only been in business for the last six months and is owned by Ray Williams. The first beer, Gouden Carolus Classic, at 75 pesos is a product from the Belgian brewery Het Anker and after a careful evaluation of the flavor, I determined it to be a Belgian Dubbel. It's pretty good, maybe a 3.5 on a scale of 5. Turns out it is considered a Strong Dark Belgian although there is no indication on the label as to the style of this beer but it has all the best qualities of a Dubbel with an ABV of 8.5% One other interesting beer I tried was the Bohemia Wheat beer for 35 pesos. Very strange floral, perfumy flavor with a crystal clear golden appearance. Unique but not a beer I would drink again.
El Gozo also has Duvel Golden Ale at 75 pesos. Same bottled beer as in the states but with a Mexican label which is interesting to see. The other interesting thing to see is the beer on tap. Believe it or not, kegged beer is unusual in most towns in Mexico, even those with moderate to large populations. Because of the expense and need for a draft system most beer in Mexico is sold in the bottle. Even here in San Miguel, there are only a couple of bars with beer on draft. Of course the beer on draft is Modelo and that is because Modelo will provide the larger restaurants and bars with the system to dispense, gratis.
My brewing persuits will begin soon and I'll keep you posted as to my progress. This year I hope to confirm my suppliers of malt extract and 2-row barley by placing orders. It will be necessary to purchase in bulk (DME 25 kilo bag, 2-row malted barley 50 kilo!) but if I can get these items I will only have to import the hops and yeast. Hasta pronto.