The evenings in San Miguel this time of year are clear and warm and the streets are uncrowded. It feels perfect for stepping out for a few beers with friends.
I had heard of a recent addition to the San Miguel bar scene, a place called Drinks, that boasts a wide selection of specialty wines and hard to find Mexican and import beers. So, armed with an unquenchable thirst, I went to meet a couple beer loving friends to see if Drinks has what it takes to satisfy my desires for a good ale in Mexico.
This discrete establishment is just a niche in one of the historic colonial structures located close to the jardin but carries a wide variety of interesting beer. Owner, Jose Antonio opened for business just six months ago after being so impressed with the quality of a barley wine he sampled that was brewed by Cucapa Brewing. He launched Drinks on the premise that, like himself, the people of Mexico are ready to expand their beer interests beyond the traditional 'claro and obscura' lagers put out by the dominant brewers, Modelo and Moctezuma.
The entrance to this ancient spanish colonial building belies the modern interior design. A narrow stretch of table continues along both side walls and are underlit with blue neon. Spot lights brighten the ultra white walls and behind the back bar is a shelving system that displays the numerous choices of beers from all over Mexico. A kind of trance jazz plays on the stereo sytem.
Some of the breweries represented are Minerva Brewing of Guadalajara, Cucapa Brewing of Mexicali, Baja California and Tijuana Guera of Tijuana, Baja California.
Mario and Cameron soon arrived and we began our tasting by sharing a couple of import beers, Fullers IPA and Bombardier premium bitter. Of course we had to taste a few Mexican micro brews including a wheat beer called Templario from the Cerveceria Siglo Trece or Thirteenth Centurey Brewery.
Soon I noticed a bottle of La Chouffe "McChouffe" on display and asked Jose Antonio (pictured in this post) about it. He didn't have any stock at the time and he must have noted my dissapointment (see tear running down cheek) because he quickly put the display sample in the refrigerator to chill it for me. After some time of drinking and using my bad spanish with Mario about the homebrewing scene in Mexico, Jose Antonio returned with the Belgian Ale. He poured samples for us all and after a studied taste I declared it the best beer I've ever had in Mexico. It was a great end to a wonderful experience at Drinks!
Drinks can be found at Correo No. 17 Centro, San Miguel De Allende and if you're in San Miguel or visiting soon, Jose Antonio's also own a car rental business that I have used and recommend.