The First One

Boquete Brewing paleFirst things first, I would like to express my gratitude to Fuz, for taking over the past two weeks. He did a great job and I could not have asked for a better host to step in.

Which leads me to the next thing: where the heck have I been? Well, Panama. Not the song (it would be weird if I could go to a song) but the country!  I’m on an adventure, and part of the requirements were that I not drink. You can read a little more about this at the blog my Dad set up, here.

Now that that’s answered, let’s get to the beer!

This is my first beer in nine days: the Mudate o Muerete pale ale, which I’m drinking at the Boquete Brewing Company in Boquete, Panama.

This beer has a nose that’s a little fruity, just a hint of citrus fruit in the middle and then finishes fairly bitter. It’s…well, just not all it could be. Now, I know: the possibility exists that I could have built up this ‘first beer’ in my mind, setting myself up for disappointment. However, I don’t believe so: I didn’t crave a beer-I was merely looking forward to having one and the fact remains that something is really off on the finish. It’s got a vegetal bitterness that skews the beer negatively. In Portland, this beer would be panned pretty hard.

Still, the fact that a craft brewery exists in Boquete is astounding by itself.

Because Boquete is a poor village that is rapidly being invaded by American money. In many respects, it reminds me of Portland-the tension between the poor and the wealthy, vying for homes, jobs, a livable city, only with a clearer division between the rich and the poor. The locals don’t have money, the foreigners do. Portland still has the semblance of a middle class.

By way of contrast, being in Boquete reminds me how far we can come when we do elevate everyone. For example, I have had to buy water every day I’ve been here and trust me, you don’t know how much water you need or use until you’re buying it from a store daily (something that residents of Flint would probably be happy to educate me on, too). I walked to this brewery with eyes darting to each side, no sidewalks to speak of to protect me from the street traffic and few traffic signs or lights at all to guide my way.

Which I don’t bring up to complain. My point is that when you go out into the world, it’s hard not to acknowledge how far people can go to bring everyone up…or what happens when we ignore doing that, because without it we get hamlets like Boquete, and you start to wonder how far you are from a situation where you are even more at the mercy of the rich than you already are.

Still; here I am, thousands of miles from home with what is an honest to god pale ale that is entirely drinkable. Is it home?


It’s damn nice to have a beer though.

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