Tag Archives: Panama

Gold Presidente

It’s my second to last day in Panama. “Whatcha doin’ there?” My Dad asks as I reach for some beer at the store.

Flensburger Gold

“Taking advantage of an opportunity that won’t come again,” I replied. He nodded, and this is what I got off the shelf-I present; Common Ales, Panama Edition!

Flensburger Gold-for a beer that includes hop extract as part of its ingredients list, this is pretty drinkable. I’ll admit, that last statement is a little snobby. I wouldn’t expect a professionally made beer to use such ingredients but here we are. It’s as little sweet-there’s enough of a hint of hops in the nose (pine oriented) and just enough bitterness on the finish for this beer to stay in the ‘easy drinking’ zone. You know the one; where you find yourself drinking half a sixpack or more on a warm autumn evening. But the malt backbone of the beer holds it together nicely.

32443510528_3ea1c2886c_kThe Presidente appears to be from the Dominican Republic and it has the nose of a Pilsner; a little yeast funky, definitely old school, pre-craft beer revolution. As the head of the beer subsides, a little more malt comes up but as with most American-light lager styles, it’s just not enough to give the beer any body to speak of. I say that with the acknowledgement that if I was experiencing Panama in a warmer season, I’d probably be sucking these down like they were going out of style. As it is, I have the luxury of going back home to Portland and getting some much tastier pilsners.

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?

No.

It’s damn nice to have a beer though.