I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week and I wasn't surprised to find a very bleak craft beer scene. Not to say that the occasional Corona, Pacifico or Victoria (which I happened to enjoy more than anything else during my trip) will kill you. I also drank quiet a bit of tequila while I was there By alcohol volume I definitely drank more agave than anything else but the vast majority of the margaritas I consumed were well above average, I make a mean skinny margarita with just lime juice, seltzer and tequila on the rocks with a salt rimmed glass. If you're going to be lounging on the beach and battle food poisoning, which I did, sometimes you want something a bit lighter than beer.
That all being said I felt like bring some American craft beers with me for the trip. Knowing that even the lighter tequila drinks and refreshing Mexican lagers would at some point leave me yearning for hops and something more tart. With me I brought the following:
Barrier Brewing - Hop Damn: This is a rye IPA, teetering on the line of being called a double but we'll call it a single for this wite up. It was definitely spicy from the rye malt and very drinkable but touch too malty for my tastes and I had trouble finishing the whole bottle, meaning I poured out the last three or four ounces from my glass before going to bed.
Upstate Brewing - Double: This was from their most recent canning of their newest mainstay beer to their lineup and it's gotten better since the first round. This time there was much more tropical fruit hop character in the nose and less floral aromas. This beer isn't huge at 7.7% abv but it definitely goes down dangerously easy for something as high as that because you'll definitely be reaching for more than one of these if you get the chance.
Half Acre - Daisy Cutter: These guys just started distributing in New York and this was the first time I got to try this beer completely sober. I was poured a glass the weekend prior to the trip as the clock approached 2am and while I recall saying, "wow, this is good!" I really didn't remember what it tasted like. Well surely enough it tasted just as good from the can a week later while I sat on the beach looking out at the Pacific. It's thin bodied but at 5.2% abv that's what you'd expect and despite that it's a delicious, easy drinking Pale Ale that has the well balanced hoppiness you'd want out of a beer like this.
White Birch - Sunset Sour: Let me start by saying that I love this brewery, love, love, love. I got a chance to visit a few years back and snagged a few things for my cellar and a buddy of mine still goes up that way frequently because his wife went to school nearby. This was just the light and refreshing sour beer that I wanted after a few days in the sun. Tart, easy drinking and had a little honey on the nose as well.
This was my first trip to Mexico, the ocean was beautiful, the lack of potable water sucked and the 24 hour battle with food poisoning was brutal. I probably won't be going back any time soon but it was nice while it last.