dsc01284Occasionally, I travel for work, and get access to some pretty swank hotels now and again. First thing I usually do when I get to a hotel room is check out the mini-bar. Not that I ever partake in the $10 Snickers. But it’s just nice to know what you’re dealing with.

But what continually surprises me about these places, no matter how nice, is the consistently low quality of alcohol offered in what many would consider high-end accommodations. It’s not like people who can afford the rates on these rooms are just dying to get back to their 2,000 square foot Presidential Suite to quench their thirst with a Bud Light. But that’s what’s usually available, if you’re lucky.

Such was the case during our honeymoon when I walked into our suite in Mexico, a fantastic room overlooking a palm dotted swimming pool, perfectly situated to catch the Gulf breeze as it rolled in off the ocean. Given my previous travel experiences, I didn’t expect much from my all-inclusive resort when it came to beer. I’d been mentally preparing myself the whole plane trip down for what I could only assume was going to be some pretty awful macro garbage. I mean, with hundreds of self-serve bar taps located all across the resort property, it’s not like the place was going to be offering up Dogfish Head 90 Minute or Westmalle Tripel*.

After I walked into the room and dropped my suitcase next to the bed, I apprehensively cracked the door on the mini-fridge. I could only imagine what swill was awaiting me. Well, much to my surprise, it wasn’t Corona. Instead, two slightly chilled cans of Modelo Especial gleamed back at me in the soft light of the mini-fridge. Great. I shut the door, and filed the knowledge of the two cans away into the far reaches of my brain, hoping for better pickings at the hotel lobby bar.  

Fast forward a couple days. After a long morning laying around by the pool sipping mojitos, I drunkenly wandered back to the room for a mid-afternoon siesta. Instead of laying down right away, I decided I’d settle in to read my book on the patio. The setting couldn’t have been more relaxing. Light breeze taking the 85 degree edge off, palm trees gently swaying with leaves peacefully rustling in the wind. Even though I’d just eaten lunch, I realized I had a little craving for some peanuts from the mini-fridge, which in actuality weren’t peanuts at all but some kind of strange Mexican nut that were much crunchier and more pleasing than your run-of-the-mill jar of Planters. I opened the fridge to grab the bag of nuts (don’t ask me why they were in the fridge), and briefly caught the cans of Modelo Especial out of the corner of my eye. I stood there for a moment, staring at them. They stared back, not saying a thing. But yet, it was like they were taunting me. They wanted to be opened. And I was just the guy to do it.   

I capitulated, going against my better judgment. After all, I was a little tipsy and wanted to keep the party going. And what are peanuts (or unfamiliar Mexican nuts) without a beer?

Modelo Especial poured into a plastic hotel cup with a flimsy head of large and rocky bubbles that quickly dissipated, just barely masking what was almost certain to be an offensively bad lager beneath. I think my main problem was that I didn’t serve it ice cold, as most macro lagers are at least “drinkable” that way. But the mini-fridge had barely been able to keep the can cooler than room temperature, which only accentuated the seriously corn-like aroma. The taste was relatively non-descript, pretty much like your standard American macro lager. Just plain bad. There was definitely nothing especial about it. I tried choking down half the glass, but decided it wasn’t really worth it. I was on vacation after all. No need to punish myself unnecessarily when I was within short walking distance of anejo tequila. 

Rating: D+

* Note to self: Open resort that serves the entire line of Dogfish Head for free. As much as guests want. Charge $1,000 a night. Retire at age 35.