A spectacularly average beer. The Bud Light of Nicaragua but with less bottle-to-bottle flavor consistency. It’s dirt cheap, tastes like you’d expect, and easy to finish a few without noticing. It’s tough to get tipsy on this beer but it’s the coldest thing you’ll find in Nicaragua. In fact, it sometimes turns into a tasty beer slushy due to the shock of heat and humidity outside the refrigerator. It typically comes served with a napkin wrapped around the top reminiscent of a Molotov cocktail. 11/10 sure beats water!
Central America has a budding microbrew industry with a handful of breweries and limited distribution. They tend to produce pale ales, red ales, and ale-like stouts. I’ve tried a few breweries but they all tasted rather similar. If you want to try this band of beers, I’d recommend sticking with the pale ales. They’re consistently good and a bit more robust than the typical Bud Light style national beers that each country has. Red ales like this Portena aren’t my favorite. The metallic flavor of the bottle cap overpowers the taste of the beer but even in a glass, you aren’t missing much. Also, Sara tried the stout but when pouring it out, you can see that it’s pretty weak. You shouldn’t be able to see through a stout. The beer had a hollow flavor to match. I’d give these microbreweries a few years to develop but you do get a higher alcohol percentage out of these beers! 10/10 it’s beer!
Sol Clamato is a must try beer! I pulled the beer out of a fridge because it had a nice looking logo. Our Airbnb hosts in Mexico city were surprised that I had a couple of those beers because it's a unique flavor of beer called clamato. It took me a second to figure out that that meant "clam + tomato". At first, my stomach turned at the thought of a clam tomato flavored beer. Nonetheless, I took a swig of the 4% beer and have to admit it was pretty darned good. It was like a bloody mary without the kick of hot sauce or too much vodka. You also avoid the pepper pieces getting stuck in your teeth. Our hosts mentioned that Sol is a great beer for helping with a hangover. I'd also add that it was a nice chaser for shots of tequila.
I now consider Sol to be my go to "bridge beer" into or out of a night on the town - 14/10!
Yes, you read it right. The Race Street Café in Philly took a gamble with this beer. Yards Brewing Company is the largest brewery in Philly that’s prevalent throughout the Northeast and technically no longer a microbrewery since they produce 40k barrels per year which is well over the 15k limit for being defined as a microbrewery. We’re big fans of nitro beers which use nitrogen instead of traditional carbon dioxide and give the beer a creamier feeling. Since we needed an afternoon pick-me-up, we opted for the nitro English ale with coffee. This meant a beer with a half cup of coffee added in. The nitro aspect of the beer makes adding coffee palatable. Unfortunately, the combination of these flavors led to the beer tasting like a skunked Budweiser. Granted my taste buds may be a bit burned from hoppy American IPAs but this “English mild ale” is not one I’d try again. Adding the coffee is an interesting idea but not with this beer. I’ll exercise some caution for odd flavors like this going forward. Discouraged – 8/10
Maine has a busy beer scene with weather that encourages time indoors spent perfecting brews and the need for beer jackets. The So Folkin’ Hoppy IPA is Funky Bow’s flagship beer and the beer delivers with 6.5% ABV and well-crafted flavor. The hops are heavy hitting but what makes this beer unique is the caramel aftertaste which smooths out the generous bite of hops. It’s a beer that you could have a few of in a row regardless of the season. The brewery is relatively new to the microbrewery scene and quite small but they’ve got a neat story, some well done, fun logos, and a distinctly branded can for easily picking out from a crowded refrigerator. Definitely a great beer to try if you’re able to find it – 12/10
I had to go to Rhode Island to get my 48th state and while I was there I also had to go the workplace of one of my buddies, Peter Griffin. He works at a brewery called Pawtucket Brewery in the TV series, Family Guy. Unfortunately, this brewery doesn't exist in real life so I went to the next best thing: a brewery in Pawtucket, RI. Foolproof Brewing was the lucky brewery and I was lucky they had some great beers!
Their IPA, The Grotto, was a refreshing take on the IPA world which seems to be kareening down this path of "the more hoppy, the better" so that drinking one immediately causes hair to grow on your chest. Conversely, The Grotto went for a lighter, easier drinking beer that makes you comfortable grabbing a second or third. All the beers we tried were on the lighter side which was quite enjoyable for Rhode Island's first day of sunshine the day we rolled through.
The Grotto was lighter in color, hops, and good for the warm weather season. There was a bit of a sour tint to it as well and the flavor was getting closer to a sour beer instead of an IPA. I enjoy both types so it was a good mix for me! I did hear another partaker mention that the beer tasted like grass.
Overall rating: 11/10 - each to his own but a good beer for me!
Walt Wit by Philadelphia Brewing is a witty wheat beer named after the American poet, Walt Whitman. Its tagline is "It's Transcendentally Delicious". Whitman came fashionably late to the Transcendentalism movement but darned if I'd love to curl up with a 6 pack of this beer in the sun on some Leaves of Grass. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania's blue laws don't allow you to buy 6 packs of any beer but you could in Walt Whitman's hometown across the creek in Camden, NJ!
Regarding wheat beers in general, Blue Moon is the most common and this type of beer is great for a warm day in the sun. They're light and easy drinking and my go to recommendation for when someone says they don't drink beer very often and asks what type of beer to get. It's hard not to like these beers because I'd argue they're on the softest end of the spectrum with only ciders any lighter but they don't have the syrupy sweetness of a cider.
Back to Walt Wit, this beer takes my #1 spot for wheat beers which is saying a lot! Walt Wit dethrones my long standing favorite, Harpoon's UFO White Ale, with more rich fruity flavors. The flavor and crispness also lasted longer than other wheat beers which seem to get stale after sitting for long.
Overall rating: 13/10 - find some now for the summer!