For a little while, I have known of a shop called Beer Box (guess what they sell?), which I’d heard many good things about, but I’d not actually visted after hearing how ridiculously expensive it is. The beers they sell are international, which is great if you feel you’ve been limited to North American beers or the main four Honduran beers (Salva Vida, Barena, Imperial and Port Royal), all of which are all very nice before any Hondurans start dissin’ me. Going all the way over to Mas X Menos can be a drag, and an expensive drag thanks to inflated prices for their yanky products and taxi rides, just to buy a Guinness, but luckily the mainstream supermarkets have also begun selling international beers; kind of handy when you can see the supermarket from your house. I guess the beers are expensive due to import prices, but it’s nice to have a bigger selection.
A couple of weeks ago my housemates told me that a new beer garden had opened at Hotel Maya called, funnily enough, Beer Garden, which is the same company as Beer Box. Then my girlfriend went on Thursday and told me how great it was, insisting that we visited on Saturday, which was yesterday.
I remember coming to stay at the Hotel Maya with my parents about three years ago when the Beer Garden bar wasn’t there, and really enjoying the views, especially up towards Picacho (where the Jesus statute stands), seeing the winding roads that lead up to it, mashed with some of the elite condos with some of the poorer neighbourhoods, especially in the afternoon and evening sun, which goes against the popular saying that Tegucigalpa is a “puta”; ugly by day, beautiful by night. For sure, sone areas could tart themselves up a little, a new layer of paint in the centre maybe, and it’s also true that Tegucigalpa is beautiful at night, a kind of lumpy layer of yellow and orange blitz igniting around Tegucigalpa’s uneven and obstructing hills. Well, Pamela’s brother Juanjo, Pamela herself and I got to soak it up last night, while drinking some very nice alcoholic beverages, especially from my neck of the woods.
The menu of beers is large, maybe 10 to 15 pages or so. And with Honduras entering summer and the days are getting extremely hot, along with the fact that I’ve not had a glass of this since September, I was thanking the heavens in a very high pitched and excited voice when I saw Strongbow on the menu. Cider is one of my favourite tipples, and it upsets me greatly that before last night the only cider I thought there was in Honduras was sickly Spanish piss water mixed with Apple Tango which neither relaxed or thrilled me. I dare say that I would choose White Lightning over that stuff! I have had great cider from the Basque Country, but the cider I am talking about isn’t from the Basque Country and certainly isn’t nice (which makes me giggle a little bit because my Spanish housemate keeps claiming that southern European food is far superior to its English counterparts, well not in the cider stakes it’s not matey. Hehehe). Let’s be frank, Strongbow is not the greatest cider either, and I warned Pamela this before she started drinking it like a fish, especially when you compare it to Cornish, Devonshire, Somerset and Herefordshire ciders. I have always told Pamela about cider and how much I think she would like it, but I always felt she was a little skeptical as she has never been fond of beer. In fact, below is her face from just sipping a beer.
Anyway, I felt mightily proud of her when the night was through and she was drunk after knocking back four bottles of the stuff. She blamed me for her hangover but I warned her that one should be careful with cider as it’s so easy to knock back that you can easily get carried away and end up in a stupor when attempting to stand up, especially with some ciders that have a higher content of alcohol. But it’s good. This can go down as training for when we go to England in July. It did go down a little easily with me too to be fair, probably something to do with withdraw symptoms and excitement, but it felt good in a cool glass after a hot day, a long week just passed, a brushing breeze pushing out the still heat, and pickles of salsa and Mana filling the background noise, the three of us felt happy and tranquilo. It went down well with the sausages, garlic toast, a nice sauce that I can’t remember the flavour of right now, and also the refried beans and nachos. It also nearly made me forget that I was being deflated of all my blood by f–king mosquitos. It’s the season for them.
I also had a London Pride and a Guinnes which kind of messed up my palate a bit and almost made me forget my bag, but Juanjo also liked the British beer, as well as the German beer, St Pauli, because it has a picture of a buxom blond young lady, which Juanjo pinched from the bottle.
It has got me thinking of creating a Honduran cider. I feel it could catch on fast. Imagine sipping it in a hammock while looking out over the Caribbean. The problem is growing apples in the tropics; I don’t know if you can grow the right ones here, but I guess we can swap that ingredient for pineapple and see where it gets us. Another thing is the name. I like the idea of using Pamela’s surname and calling it a Fruity Cruz, but that won’t appeal to the macho markets. Maybe just a simple Cruz Cidra. Let me know what you think. Put your answers on a post card. But I’m tired, so now is the time to log off, wish you all a great week and leave you with an early Pogues song which mentions the word cider but is really about being a punk, rioting and being rowdy in London. Enjoy!