The weather is dimming, the days shrinking, and the bottle of Mexican-made English-style pale ale starts looking more seductive. It's called Chupacabras, by a craft brewer in Baja California called Cerveza Cucapa. (Twitter bio: "The only Mexican Beer that Doesn't need a lime to taste better, The Best Rated Mexican Craft Beer and no, we don't do Lager Beers.") Clearly they're an outfit itching to shed the image of Mexican beers as fizzy yellow tapwater suitable for first-time grandmothers and 15-year-olds before curfew.
The Chupacabras is progress on that front. It goes down like your typical Mexican after-beach beer, but with a bit more sting to it, a coppery red color and a pleasant finish, considering there's a damn chupacabra on the label. It stashes a note of bitter cocoa at the back, and some woody, nutty burn at the top. It's 5.8 percent abv, making it about half as strong again as your average beach lager. This is not a flimsy, binge-worthy Spring Break beer so much as a beer to fill three hours at the airport after you miss your flight because you were puking your eyeballs pink after drinking too much Spring Break beer.
Oh, Spring Break, still a solid 23 weeks away. The leaves haven't just begun to turn; they're piling up in streets and yards, separating the diligent rake-and-bag sorts from those of us who prefer to let nature take its wise, leafy course. On the northwest coast, the sky has given way to an endless blue-grey sadness smear that weeps rain-mist as a constant chilly haze. There's no reason to go outside except to conceal your seasonal affective disorder sobs from the other mopey adults whose ever-greyer skin points toward winter just as surely as the premature Christmas décor at the Safeway.
But things are tough all over. On the right coast, the last storm of hurricane season has turned out to be the most menacing. And there's an election a'coming, one that will inspire another desperate round of "HOW TO MOVE TO CANADA" web searches from Portland drip-coffee bars, if somehow Romney can get to second base with Ohio.
Tell you what. This year, in case (Candidate You Dread) wins? Mexico. Just let it trip off your tongue: Meh hee koh. Finally fortify the Spanish that since 10th grade has been just good enough to get the Bumblebee Man jokes on "The Simpsons." Sweat out mescal hangovers on white-sand beaches and tip big fat American fives at the taquería. Produce your own vitamin D in January. Shop at Mexican Walmarts unironically, saying things like, "Can you believe how fuckin' barato these avocados are? Que bueno." Also, there's apparently a decent craft brewery in Mexicali. We can even drink slow.
Beer-game pairings: Taking the southwestern smorgasbord here. Los Chargers are going to do whatever it is the Chargers do, at Cleveland. The Giants are visiting Cowboys Stadium, which might be taking place in north Mexico if the world had just chilled and gone with the flow starting in 1830. The 49ers will be touchdown favorites in Arizona on Monday night. Also: béisbol.