A misspelling in the title of this post?
No it's not actually. It's another poor attempt at a beer pun. Inserting "ale" into the word "nostalgia", if you are still having difficulty with it. Forget it.
The sense of smell is perhaps the most evocative trigger for the memory, and perhaps this is part of the reason why enjoying a beer can set off an unmistakable, lucid recollection of past events.
A reminder of relaxing on a beach in the midst of summer, the first time you had your mind blown by a huge hop hit or huddled up in front of a fireplace on a winters night are all potentially accessed in an instant once again by the taste or smell of a beer.
This happened to me very recently and the memory was so vivid I really felt like I was instantly transported 13,000 kms back to the western shores of Mexico.
Before my eyes were opened to microbrewed beer I had traveled to Mexico for 6 months as a reward for... all the hard... something to do with... well I went to Mexico for 6 months.
I hadn’t ventured into the world of beer that actually had taste and character and was only really exposed to bland Australian macro lagers and Euro lagers so this world of Mexican beers seemed pretty exciting.
I was sophisticated enough to know that I wasn’t interested getting Coronas while I was there and it seemed that even Mexicans didn’t drink Coronas.
But what was this? Dos Equis? Modelo Especial? Negra Modelo? Yeah this was all pretty interesting stuff. I mean, they probably are more interesting than Carlton Draught and VB but by no means are the flavours that great among these beers.
None of these were enjoyed more than the Pacifico Clara, which became my beer of choice when I was out and about.
The beers were always served with a plate of sliced lime and a dish of salt and the expectation was that you dipped the lime in the salt and then squeezed it in to the beer. I was never a fan of adding lime to beer, even when my palate was only grappling with Becks and Carlsberg I always queried: “If it needs lime added to it then how good can it be?” Fair question I thought, but this is the way everyone was doing it so “When in Rome”. Or Mazatlan as the case may be. Mexico City too. Look, you get what I mean.
Sitting on the beach in the sun with a Pacifico was just about as good an afternoon as I could imagine.
Just for some clarification for you all. I mentioned I’ve had the Pacifico recently and my palate has evolved out of recognition since then. The Pacifico is just a bland, mass produced lager. At the time however, perfect.
About a week ago I went to MexiCali restaurant on Swan St in Richmond. I had the faintest breath of a hope that there may be some Mountain Goat beer as just about all the places in Richmond have some Mountain Goat at the ready. Alas there was not, so I thought I would revisit my holiday favourite.
The first sip was disappointing. Dull. Boring. Still probably one of the better beers on the list. I worked through the beer with effort but figuring that I’d probably get another one after as the other two options were Carlton Draught and Corona. The end of the beer is where it hit me.
In the last mouthful of the beer I could have sworn I had a strong taste of lime and even a lime seed at the bottom of the bottle. Instantly I was back in a hammock on a hot day in a totally different hemisphere. My fluency in the Spanish language came back and I was immediately less punctual. Is that offensive? It might be, but that’s really beside the point.
The personal nostalgic value that this beer holds for me far outweighs the objective quality of the beer and takes me back to the best holiday of my life so far. This might be spoiled and ruined if I decided to have this beer more than once in a blue moon.
I don’t think that’s really going to be a problem.