Lower Standards In Panama?

I’m not much of a drinker of alcoholic beverages like I used to be, but I do enjoy a cold beer on a hot day. I also enjoy a good single-malt Irish Whiskey. Yes, there is such a thing, it isn’t just the Scots who do it. I also enjoy visiting micro-breweries and have had some wonderful concoctions. There was a micro in Fort Lauderdale years ago that made an oatmeal beer that was one of the best brews I’ve ever downed.

I’m a big supporter of locally-brewed beers, too. When I was cruising on my lamented Nancy Dawson I drank the local suds in Belize and Guatemala. In Belize you could get Belikan, Belikan Light and Belikan Stout. Guatemala had Gallo, Gallo Light and Gallo Stout. Fortunately they weren’t bad beers and on a sweltering day they were just the ticket.

I also like  imported beers. In the States when I would eat out at Japanese restaurants I’d always have a Kirin or an Ichi-ban and at my favorite greasy-spoon Mexican place in Fort Lauderdale, Jalisco, I’d have a Tecate with a little lime wedge on the side. Corona is much to watery for my taste.

Here in Panama the local beers are quite pleasing to my palate. In order of preference I drink Balboa, Panama, Atlas and as a last resort Soberana.

In the States the quality of the imported beers is quite high…Heineken (though a Heineken in Europe doesn’t taste like a Heineken in the States) Polar, Kilik from the Bahamas, you get my drift. Now, if you go to the fancy watering holes in Panama City you can get the finer imported beers and though I haven’t patronized any of the better establishments here in Chiriqui I suppose they’re available, too.

But while out walking the other day I saw THIS on the side of the road. An “imported” beer from the States that makes me wonder if the standards for imported beer are lower here in Panama than they are in the United States.


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4 responses to “Lower Standards In Panama?

  1. Denis

    In the late 70’s I spent a few summers doing Army Reserve time in Panama and seem to recall stacks of Old Milwaukee, Blatz and other classics piled high at the PX at Fort Clayton.
    Many a night was well spent slugging Balboas and watching the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean from the Balboa Yacht Club (due to the twisted geography of the Isthmus, not the twist provided by the beers).
    You have it absolutely correct in my book; Balboa, then Panama, then Atlas. If all that is left is Soberana it’s time to go home.

    Dennis, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Blatz! Now there’s a blast from the past. Right up there with Ballantine, Schaefer and Knickerbocker. I don’t know how long it’s been since the last time you were here, but the YC is still going strong. I was there a few months ago. I very nice place for sundowners. Clayton is a rather up-scale residential area now. Getting ready to fry up some chicken for dinner and there’s a cold Balboa waiting in the fridge.

  2. Hi Richard:

    I’m not much of a beer drinker nowadays, but I sure had my fair share when I was in my prime time.

    After reading your post my mouth got beer-thirsty. Great post with lots of suds and cold temperatures.



    The post, Omar, wasn’t meant to denigrate Panama in any way. It’s just that Old Milwaukee is one of the cheapest and trashiest beers available in the States. One normally thinks of “imported” products as being premium and high-quality. The sight of that can just struck me as funny since such rotten suds is obviously an import.

  3. I’m with Denis – Blatz?!

    Now, here is a bit of beer trivia for you. There is a brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, that makes several beers under the Leinenkugel name. Great beer, by the way. Many of the Leinenkugels shortened their name when they came over from the Old County, and that’s how I ended up being a Leinen.

    I just found out recently about Abita from Abita Springs, LA. They’ve got a wonderful “Save our shores” campaign going – making a substantial per bottle contribution to various funds for Louisiana oil spill clean up. They’ve got a fun website you can find here.

  4. Gordo

    Ok, I came across this post, and couldn’t resist commenting.
    When I worked for Seattle’s Rainier Brewing Company, we actually packaged Blatz beer and Old Milwaukee too, I think (this was in the later years of the brewery).
    The product we put out was kind of a generic beer, that carried many labels: Blatz, Schmidt, Heidelberg, Rheinlander, etc. – all came out of the same tank, and really not that bad, though a bit weaker than the Flagship brand.

    I love the comment that they all came out of the same tank. I think that’s exactly how it is at filling stations, too.