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Category Archives: drink

There seems to be some weird and in my eyes fucked up understanding that real men eat meat. Like we’re still some kind of backwards cavemen that have to get their force from dead animals in order to survive. Well, those times are long gone. And apart from the fact that cavemen never eat much meat compared to our standards, most of us spend their days in offices where they sit their fat asses down on chairs. Not much hunting involved. But when confronted with and declining to eat meat, men are depicted as being pussies.

“You don’t eat meat? You’re not a real man then!” – Well fuck yourself, real men don’t have to eat meat. They should drink a lot and smoke to be manly, but meat is definitely not a part of it. So any of you assholes making me justify why I just don’t friggin feel like eating meat at all times: I will pour my whiskey right in your face the next time you ask stupid questions. Thank you very much.

Remember the bad old times in Panama when beer taste just like… well, let’s just say water.
The beer still doesn’t taste too much, but the percentage has clearly improved. Until a few years ago it was not possible to find a beer with over 3.5% alcohol in it. this has changed now and 5% beer is actually available. Yee-haah!

Okay, though, the Cervezeria Baru of Panama still doesn’t know much about beer brewing in my opinion, but this is definitely a great improvement. Long gone are the days we used to spend at the beach, chugging one beer after the other, still faintly hoping to get drunk. Now, we actually do manage! No more just using the beer for chasers after Ron Abuelo (which, by the way, is also not very good compared to Central American Standards: When I say “standard” you say “Flor de Caña“…). Anyways, Panama has never been my favorite drinking land. It is definitely not my favorite smoking land. What’s with these fascist laws man? I mean, being healthier all right, but why the hell would you not allow smoking outdoors? We’ve even been to a bar at the beach, that had a little straw-roofed shelter with a table. No sire, you could not smoke under there. What’s with that? Well, they still take the law kind of easy in Bocas del Toro, but not in Panama City, no sir! You can get your ass fined off.

Well anyways, I was talking about the beer, but now I drifted off I guess. Instead of complaining about non-smoking laws I should be happy that the Cervezas “Panama” and “Balboa” finally managed to get the percentage of booze into them they should.

Salud!

The only beer brewing house of Costa Rica, the Cerveceria de Costa Rica is celebrating its 100th birthday. Funny how time passes when you are enjoying yourself… I know it’s a little late to write about this, but I just noticed the label on my beer bottle a short while ago. The brewery is now also producing beer for Heineken and distributing less tasty stuff like Smirnoff Ice (arrrgh, groce). By the way, the cerveceria de Costa Rica was the first Latin American brewery to receive a license from Heineken to brew its tasty liquid.

However, after all those years “Pilsen” is still the right beer to go with. It gives you less of a headache than some other products, the worst being “Rock Ice“: if you really plan on waking up with a bad hangover, then enjoy this cerveze de chicas…

Interestingly, the brewery is also promoting the Nicaraguan Toña beer as well as the formidable Cerveza Gallo from Guatemala. To be honest, I have not yet encountered any of those products in Costa Rica (although I could kill somebody for a Gallo right now). But maybe this will happen before the next 100 years are over. Anyways, what with all developments and expansions here in Costa Rica, the variety of many things (not only beer) is growing. The “Bavaria” beer brand is living proof of how quality is advancing here. But don’t forget that it is not easy to brew European style beer in the tropics: with high temperature variations (from over 30 degrees Celsius to a cold fridge and back) and transport in this “beer unfriendly” environment, it is almost impossible to have a standard beer that keeps its quality. This is why many tropical beers have rather low alcohol levels and taste like water…

But in the temperate Central Valley and around San Jose nothing can come in between me an enjoying my beer…

Appendix: Not being American I was unaware, that Imperial beer is appearently also sold in the states. I found an interesting blog entry about Imperial’s advertising campaign, for once “without fake tits” ;). Interstingly, the cerveceria has stopped the famous Pirellli style- calendar with the “Chicas Pilsen”… even though I am not a big fan of advertising everything with breasts I have to admit: I will miss the calendar…

One of the most crucial questions for any person traveling to anywhere is what beer you drink… while in many countries you have a choice from a huge variety of beer, this is quite different in Central America. Most countries have between 2-3 beer brands to choose and mostly they are produced by the same brewery. This is the case with Balboa and Panama in Panama, Toña/Victoria in Nicaraugua and it most definitively is with Pilsen/Imperial in Costa Rica. Although the producing brewery Florida Co. has released some further beers, the question of faith is still: Imperial or Pilsen?

Truth be told, there is not much of a taste difference between the two. Pilsen contains a bit more alcohol (5,1%, compared to Imperial’s 4,6%) and is a bit more aromatic. But on a hot day when you’re just thirsty, wanting to enjoy a fresh cerveza you might hardly tell the difference between the two. Neither you will after having had a couple already. Nevertheless, Pilsen drinkers look down on “Imperialists” and vice versa. Imperial, also called “aguila” (the Spanish word for the eagle depicted on the bottle) is known as a gringo beer in some parts of Costa Rica, apparently because its design appeals more to tourists, uncertain which of the two beers to choose. Hence, they end up drinking Imperial.

I just want to point out that this war of believes is nothing short of pointless. Compared to the varieties of taste in European beers, there is not much of a difference between the two. However, the only Costa Rican brewery mentioned above has released a new brand of beer a couple of years ago, called “Bavaria“. There is a dark and a light one and, for Central American standards, this beer is a real revelation. As the name foretells, this beer is aimed towards the German brewing tradition (rather than the North American) and the result is definitively one of Central America’s best – particularly if you compare it to the light-beer water of Panama (with max. 3,5% alcohol)!

So I do recommend to drink Bavaria when you do have a real choice. If not (as in most parts of the country) and you can only choose between the two classical brands Imperial and Pilsen: I recommend you adapt to your environment and drink whatever they drink, assuring them that this is clearly the better beer than the other one…

Salud!

I have just found another blog entry of an overt alcoholic 🙂 which leaves a bad taste in my mouth full of Flor de Caña. That fellow is writing about the Guatemalan Zacapa rum and singing its song of praise. Much better than I sang mine. Unfortunately, I have to admit that Zacapa is without the shadow of a doubt the best rum that ever crossed my palate. As the writer rightly states, Zacapa is not distilled from molasses, but only from the first sugar cane syrup pressing. This and its slow aging on 1500 metres above sea level contribute to its taste. This puts me in a (typical?) Central American conflict… one small Central American country’s product against the other…

Well, I am honest enough to admit that Zacapa is the shit. But no wonder, the youngest rum they offer is 15 years old (only 16 and 21 year old rum is sold as export and of course the older stuff I cannot afford). Still, what makes Flor de Caña special is the way you drink it: at the beach, with friends, in the dark (when electricity has disappeared) and out of the bottle. No, that’s not what I wanted to say. Again: Zacapa is the best rum I know to drink straight. Flor de Caña has a fabulous taste too, but it’s not quite the same category. It is, however, the best rum I know to mix with. I have to say that I don’t mix it so much with Coke anymore. Being in Costa Rica, you get used to the daily availability of fresh fruit and that’s what I love mixing it most. And then, mixing Zacapa with all this fruity stuff would be nothing short of waste. So check out http://www.ronesdeguatemala.com/ for an exclusive tour of this Guatemalan wonder distillery. But remember: Nothing beats Flor de Caña in spirit…

Flordecana? Why would someone name a blog like that? Well, first of all, all the good names were already taken. Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Centroamerica and Central America seem to be occupied by some shady people who don’t even put content on their pages.

But however, the idea was to write about happenings, history and interesting event in Central America, with a particular focus on Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the countries I spend most time in. And since all the names were taken, well I cannot lie, I do like rum. So it quickly occurred to me that Flor de Caña should be the name of choice. I don’t want to promote alcoholism but the occasional bottle of Flor de Caña mixed with fresh fruit juice or coke was always a luxury I enjoyed in Central America. And getting to know this award-winning rum in Nicaragua I got to love its taste.

The taste of 7 year old Flor de Caña almost reminds of brandy and cognac with a color of mahogany and an incredibly smooth taste. The rum is produced by the Compañia Licorera de Nicaragua in Chichigalpa since 1937. It won 73 medals in the past years and is known by pretty much every traveller that has visited Nicaragua.

The company claims to have “one of the largest reserves of aged rums in the world”, apparently due to the fact that they could not export a whole lot during the 1970’s and 80’s. Anyways, this is good news as it looks like I won’t have to waste my time with abominations like Bacardi…

But what you will be reading here is more than thoughts about rum and other liquors. I hope to look at happenings in these Central American countries, things that have happened here (to me and in history) and give recommendations about what I like here. But first, I’ll have myself a nice cup of seven year old Flor de Caña…