Gut Rumbles

June 03, 2004

beer in costa rica

Imperial is a damn good beer. A brand called Pilzen also is brewed locally in Costa Rica, but it tastes a lot like Miller Lite. I preferred Imperial.

But be careful when you order a beer in Costa Rica. For some reason, they serve it in a glass over ice if you don't tell them differently. Da mi una cervesa, por favor. Un Imperial, con no vaso y no hielo.

You need to master that bit of Spanish if you visit Costa Rica. That phrase means "Give me a beer, please. An Imperial, with no glass and no ice." Drink it straight out of a cold, frosted bottle. Otherwise, some well-intentioned bartender will pour your beer into a glass full of ice and hand you a saltshaker on the side. Yes, Costa Ricans like salt in their beer.

I wandered into several establishments that might be called "working-class bars" by American standards. They weren't fancy and the crowd wore work-boots and raincoats because of all the lluvia falling from the sky. They sat around drinking beer on ice, with a dash of salt, while they ate arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) from steaming bowls, piled high.

These weren't rough joints, just down-to-earth, and I enjoyed visiting them. With my shitty Spanish, I didn't exactly fit in with the crowd, and I am certain that they knew I was a tourista, but everybody was polite and friendly. The beer was cheap, the music was good and arroz con pollo ain't half bad when you've been walking around in the rain all day. It felt pretty good on a hungry belly.

One other thing to remember: They also put the hot water faucets on the RIGHT HAND side of every sink and shower that I saw there. I knew what "F" and "C" meant on the faucets (That's "frio" and "caliente," cold and hot) but I never quite got the knack of remembering that the faucets were backward down there. I damn near scalded my Cracker ass a few times in the early morning before my eyes were open well.

I didn't get my fill of that place. I'm going back very soon.


A pinch of salt in beer does two things. First it takes off some of the bitterness and second it give the beer a little more head.

And everybody could use a little more head.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on June 3, 2004 09:38 PM

Yo hablo espanol un pocito. Yo tengo un compania que emplea todo Hispanos.

Por que? Los americanos en New Jersey no quiere trabajan duramente. Yo pago mi hombres un sueldo bueno.

I can't report on the state of blue-collar employment outside of NJ. However, I do know there is a serious dearth of willing manual labor workers in my section (Morris/Somerset County) of NJ. The two counties (Morris and Somerset) I do most of my work in are among the most wealthy in the nation. As such, the kids (young adults, if you will) have no compunction to do laborious work.

For what it is worth, I paid my foreman (who moved to NC two months ago because his wife hated the cold) over $50K/yr. He also had a company truck. So much for paying a sub-standard wage to immigrants....

Posted by: rightisright on June 3, 2004 11:11 PM

My apologies for going WAY off topic.

Posted by: rightisright on June 3, 2004 11:21 PM

My mom, from Peru, makes killer arroz con pollo... but nothing's better than her specialty, lomito saltado, and her paella is awesome too.  Latina moms rule.

Posted by: Beast of Bourbon on June 4, 2004 03:23 AM

Rob's Spanish is a bit off.

"Dame," not "Da mi." "Traigame" might be better,
more polite, anyway ("serve me" vs. "give me").

Also: "sin vaso o hielo."

Posted by: Mark Shaw on June 4, 2004 11:58 AM

Your tales about your south of the border adventures make me want to start "yonder'en" again. That is one of the biggest things I miss about my time in the Navy.

You found the best place to "hang out". Used to try and find the local watering holes in about every port I visited. You got to meet the locals away from the tourist traps. Met some great people that way.

Posted by: Guy S. on June 4, 2004 12:39 PM

Goddam! I TOLD you that I spoke shitty Spanish.

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