While trying to finish off my Honours thesis on - you know - journalismy things last week, I had two sudden realisations. Firstly, I had not eaten Mexican food in at least three days. Bad move. Secondly and perhaps more relevantly, I realised that I had never reviewed a beer brewed by Boston Breweries, a brewery that commands a decent amount of influence around the Western Cape. Silly me. To remedy this in one fell swoop, I went to Pancho’s in Observatory for some enchiladas and jalapeno poppers, as well as a couple draughts of Naked Mexican.
Founded in 2000, Boston produce about 32 000 litres a month, and - unknown to many - their premises also act as the brewing facilities for Jack Black, Darling Brewery and Bierwerk. (Although they all brew at the same place, they are all different breweries run by different people, who make beers with different ingredients.) As such, their premises see the beginnings of many of this part of South Africa’s favourite beers. They also deliver cases of their beer anywhere in Cape Town for free, which I like. (You can order online here - they also deliver nationwide for a small fee, which is useful seeing as I don’t think their beers are sold anywhere outside of the Western Cape.)
Anyway, to summarise my findings for the night: chili poppers are good and Boston’s Naked Mexican is a great beer to wash down stodgy and spicy food. One of two lagers Boston makes, the best comparison I can think of to their Naked Mexican is Corona Extra, which doesn’t really sound like the best thing a beer can aspire to, but I must say that this is much better than Corona. Pale yellow with a paper-thin and bubbly head, it’s lightly malty and liltingly hoppy. For once, an uncomplicated beer works: it finishes clean and leaves a refreshed palate. It also sits lightly in the stomach. That’s not to say it’s watery or boring as Corona is. The Naked Mexican just knows what it is and what it does.
A nice surprise is that it’s R20 a draught, and that’s at a restaurant not exactly known for being cheap. In many ways it’s similar to Jack Black: same price range, similar competent execution of the pale lager style. (They’re brewed in the same place, after all.) The Naked Mexican sits much lighter with food though, and I have a feeling that it might be an underwhelming beer without eating alongside it.
On the flipside, I have a feeling it’d be the perfect poolside beer for antics during 35 degree summer afternoons. I definitely plan to test that hypothesis in a couple months.
Boston Brewery Naked Mexican, 500ml draught, 4.5% a.b.v.
Pros: Clean and refreshing; light as bubbles; well-priced.
Cons: Made with imported malt. Why?