Category Archives: Beer

Science: Pears Before Booze Prevents Hangovers

Science has been hard at work answering the big questions…and the biggest question facing humanity is: “How can we avoid facing the consequences of our stupid decisions?” The CSIRO has this to say:

What hangover symptoms can pears prevent?
Overall hangover severity, as measured by a 14 item hangover symptom scale, was significantly reduced in the Korean pear group compared to those having a placebo drink, with the most pronounced effect seen on the specific symptom of ‘trouble concentrating’.

The thing I love most about this is that someone got paid to eat pears and drink booze, just to see how bad the hangover was afterwards. This is clearly one of those cases where someone thought “how can I get research funds to get drunk?”, and that brings a little tear of pride to my eye*. If I ever do a science research project, I will research the effectiveness of every hangover cure I can come across, and spend my entire PhD inebriated.
That’s a valid life goal.

*Other examples include studying the local climate effects of wineries on fruit fly pests, so your doctorate requires that you visit every winery in the country; and the effect of different strains of barley on the flavour of the beer it produces, which obviously involves drinking a lot of beer.

Review: Marcianito Witbier

Marcianito WitbierI quite liked the movie John Carter, despite the illogical twists, but I couldn’t get past the animals that inhabited Mars; so low to the ground, such powerful legs, exactly what you’d expect from animals that evolved in a higher gravity than Earth. However, of course, Mars has a lower gravity, so the animals didn’t really match. The Tharks fit, for what that was worth. Still the red planet has done more than inspire dodgy sci-fi, it has also inspired a wheat bear from the Talavera Brewery in Puebla.

Marcianito Witbier is tangy yet slightly frothy, and has a fruity taste. This might be explained by the orange peel and coriander used in the brewing process. As with certain DC heroines, I imagine this beer is best enjoyed outdoors on sunny day, maybe lounging beside a pool, perhaps playing cards (but not to win), wondering if drinking more will remove that slightly off-putting aftertaste.

It’s probably worth drinking one or two and then switching to a cheaper outdoor-refreshing beer. The 5% alcohol content won’t be distracting you too much unless you chug it (and you don’t chug artisanal beers, you heathen).

Miss Martian cosplay by Tailstastic

Review: La Caminera

La Caminera    Mexico City is one of the largest cities on Earth, and the only place in Mexico I’ve ever been where the people ever move faster than a sturry*. It’s not particularly pleasant but there’s certainly a lot going on.
    Which is a good description for the artesanal beer La Caminera, a dark porter. It puts me in mind of Thanos: A complex taste that seems to grapple your tongue, filling your senses before dissolving into a sour aftertaste, and ultimately disappointment at the way it all ends. My wife said she thought it had a chocolate flavour, but I didn’t get that… when poured it gives moderately good head, but it’s not creamy at all. It’s got 6% alcohol, so it’s not a complete waste of time.
    So this is not my style of beer, but it does seem well made – I would suggest it for people who want a dark beer but not a rich creamy taste.

* A sturry is that shuffling run that people launch into to make it look like they’re moving faster when in fact their speed hasn’t increased one iota.

Lady Thanos cosplay by Contagious Media

Review: Dark Side Space Oatmeal Stout

Dark Side Space Oatmeal Stout    My favourite street clowns perform in a little pedestrian area a block from the zócalo in Puebla. Whenever I am in that fine city I make it a point to visit this group, not only for their physical feats (which are pretty impressive) but for their comedic stylings – my favourite part of the act is a couple of clowns miming to “A Esa” by Pimpinela. So if you ever visit Puebla, head to the Plaza de la Democracia off Avenida Juan de Palafox y Mendoza and watch them. And give them money.
    Then, take a good long hard look around for the Xochipilli Brewery, since right now I’m drinking their Dark Side Space Oatmeal Stout. This is a thick, dark stout. Poured into a glass it gives Guiness levels of foamy head, so be careful with that. The flavour is very sharp and tangy, almost acrid, but the head forms in your mouth as you drink it giving the beer a creamy texture. It’s not one of my favourites, but if you find sharp tastes to be refreshing, this would be a good beer to pour into a glass and then wait for it to settle while exchanging frippery and frivolity. While drinking this beer I couldn’t stop thinking of Darkseid, but only because of the name.

Review: Brutal Imperial Stout

Brutal Imperial Stout    One of my favourite comics of all time is Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, written by Dave Louapre and illustrated by Dan Sweetman (who also did the cover art for Mr Bungle). I bring this up because I was introduced to this series by one of the collections, What if this were Heaven, wouldn’t that be Hell?, which contained the story The Night they Missed the Donkey Show, which was about a group of Gringos who drove down to Tijuana to see a donkey show and left with nothing except homicidal Elvises. For a long time the donkey show was all I knew about Tijuana, but now I have learned it is the home of Border Psycho Brewery, which I encountered at the first Cuernavaca Beer Festival.

   This is the brewery that makes Brutal Imperial Stout, a fantastic beer which is brewed with cocoa and star anise. This stout is delicious, dark and thick and sort of sweet, sultry would be a good word to use, bringing to mind The Black Cat, one of those anti-villains that Spider-man never really wants to beat. It has a complex taste, but very drinkable, and gives great head when poured into a glass. Like Felicia Hardy this drink is of the night, the shadowed places, a poorly lit tavern wooing a girl with Edgar Allen Poetry.

   It sinks its claws into you, dragging you back for more, but will a surfeit of sultry goodness bring you the bad luck that is synonymous with going against the Black Cat? Well, the alcohol content is 10.3 percent, so…yes.

Black Cat cosplayed by Dalin

Review: Karamawi Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Karamawi   The next beer from the inimitable-without-a-mud-pit 1st Cuernavaca Beer Festival is Belgian Golden Strong Ale by Karamawi.
   For full disclosure, I must reveal that I have in fact been to Belgium, staying a few days in Brugge, where I lived on Belgian beer and Belgian chocolate. I don’t think I would have lasted much longer, to be honest, since man cannot live on beer and chocolate alone…but what a way to go.
   Now, this particular Belgian Golden Strong Ale produced by Karamawi did not originate in Belgium, of course, but in Pueblo, a city famed for taking various ingredients and mixing them together for the best possible results. To a large extent this beer follows that tradition: It is brisk and fruity, or actually more berry than fruity, much like Poison Ivy. That Batman villain has more in common with this beer – she’s got a powerful punch and this beer logs in at 8% alcohol. To my palate, at least, the malt is a bit sour, resulting in a dichotomous reaction in the mouth that’s partly a very nice taste and partly something you don’t really want near you…again, much like Poison Ivy.

   A beer for a fun but challenging time, a garden party full of verbal jousting from amiable people, perhaps.

Poison Ivy photo by Robbins Studios

Review: Criolla Pilsen

cOSPLAY-Meow-Jessica-Nigri-catwomanI’ve been to Veracruz, some years ago, driving up and down a sweaty coastal road so my kids would fall asleep in the back seat. That’s not why I went, of course, it’s just what I spent a lot of my time doing while I was there. Anyway, being the jolly sort of fellow I am, while I was there I tried some of the local beer, and I remember being distinctly unimpressed.
    Nevertheless, being nothing if not a give-’em-another-chance sort of bloke, when I found the Veracruz Brewing Company stand at the First Morelos Beer Festival I was disposed to give them another shot. Thus, my first review is of Criolla Pilsen, from quite near the city founded by Hernan Cortes, I believe.

Shoddy picture of a Criolla Pilsen bottle held in a handThe beer is refreshingly tart and sassy on the tip of the tongue, yet sweet and creamy as it slides down your throat. In the same way that Catwoman impresses you with her sassiness on the first encounter and then beguiles you with her smooth sweetness as you come to know her, this light and creamy beer rewards a respectful approach. The bottle does warn you to “remove attachments to your palate”, assumedly to give space to Catwoman’s whip.
    At 4.5% alcohol it’s not going to push you too swiftly into inebriation, and one or two of these artisanal beers before switching to the cheaper mass-market stuff once your tastebuds go numb is a good move on a hot, dry Mexican day. It’s the rainy season right now, nevertheless I enjoyed the Pilsen.