I like dark beer. There, I said it. I also like stinky cheese and sauerkraut. Maybe it’s a man thing, maybe it’s my German heritage, maybe it’s my aversion to sweets from an Easter gone bad from many years ago that swung the pendulum to the other side, or maybe I’m just vile. As a result, when I go to new places I like to to figure out what kind of dark beers they have. Every now and then, I find something interesting, like in Colorado’s huge array of microbreweries. More often than not, sadly, I don’t… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up trying.
I realize that I just blogged about the Paloma (tequila and grapefruit soda), and me blogging about beer the next day runs the risk of making me look like a great big lush. But, I didn’t want to lose track of my great find, and I wanted to share it with you, my loyal readers, just in case I have some.
I was wandering around the resort during one of the more relaxing days of our week along Riviera Maya, looking for somewhere to eat lunch at the resort that we had heard had good tacos. Unfortunately, the tacos were a dinner thing, and at lunch it was more of a watering hole for the resident golf course. Mind you, this isn’t in Isla Mujeres, but further south down the coast from Cancun along the Mayan Riviera coast between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. There’s not really room for a golf course on the island, which is ironic considering how many golf carts one sees on the island.
Anyway, having previously tried Negra Modelo for my first time over a decade ago while in NYC, of all places to explore a Mexican beer, I remember being unimpressed with its level of carbonation, and lack of flavor and richness. I thought that maybe while I was actually IN Mexico, a better Mexican beer might be available exclusively to those within its borders. Unfortunately, this particular watering hole didn’t have anything to offer me directly from his establishment, so I had a Sol or something else even more like water, but less likely to initiate Montezuma’s Revenge. After our meal, I asked the waiter (as I usually do to learn about new things) what dark beers he recommended and he directed me to Bohemia Obscura (obscura means “dark” in Spanish). I asked where I might find such a thing and he suggested I try the Wal-Mart in Playa del Carmen.
We made quite a few trips to the grocery during our first week to Mexico, and were able to find Bohemia Obscura. It was very reasonably priced by American standards. I’m used to paying $8USD or so for a 4 pack of Guinness cans which, apparently, I should be buying at Costco, so when I saw a 6 pack of Bohemia Obscura for $80Mxn (~$6USD) at the supermercado, it seemed a little high for Mexico’s plighted currency, but still not bad from my perspective. When I finally got it back to the hotel and gave it a taste, I was thoroughly pleased. Its color was pleasing, the flavor was rich, and neither the carbonation nor hops were overpowering to the palate.
Here’s how FEMSA, makers of Sol and Dos Equis (XX), and operators of OXXO (the 7-11 of Mexico) describe their dark beer offering:
To satisfy the most demanding palates, Bohemia Obscura was developed, which offers a great alternative for the consumer of this type of beer. Bohemia Obscura is a Viennese style beer with a full body thanks to the combination of caramel and toasted malts, which brings out its grain character, from where nut and coffee aromas emanate.
So, I guess that means I have a demanding palate. I wonder what the implications of such a statement are meant to entail. According to FEMSA, when I describe food, drink, or other experiences in Mexico, I appears that I do so from the perspective of a demanding palate — so now you know.
Since then, I’ve had a fairly difficult time finding Bohemia Obscura anywhere else in the Riviera Maya area. Restaurants don’t seem to have it in their repertoire. Most liquor stores seem to exclusively serve the paler versions of cerveza. I understand that this particular style of beer is fairly new given that a lot of Mexican beer brands have been in place for over a century, but I wish I could find it in an OXXO store just down the street. I didn’t check the Servefrio or Punta Modelo the when I visited Isla Mujeres recently, because with my two liters of rum and mojito mix from the duty free store, I was plenty distracted, but next time I’m in Mexico, I’ll remember to search for it.
Do you know of any places on Isla Mujeres where you can get Bohemia Obscura? If so, leave a comment and let me know.