Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Vicki and Toni

Forget Coca Cola, beer is the beverage drank 'round the world. Almost everywhere I have traveled, there is a local beer. You rarely see a local cola, but someone, somewhere is brewing beer.

Central Europe, of course, has many great beers. Every country surrounding Germany brews a pilsner or ale or two. England has its ale, Ireland floods the world with the dark and hairy Guinness. Even Israel brews "Gold Star" beer. Turkey counters with "Efes". I have not visited the Orient, but we here in the US enjoy Tsing Tao from China, Sapporo or Kirin from Japan and every week at Thai food nite, Greg and I slug a Singha from Thailand.

Latin America brews some good beer as well. US markets are flooded with Corona, Modelo, Pacifica, Negra Modelo, Tecate, Dos Equis and others. I have sampled beer from El Salvador and Honduras as well. I believe there is a beer from Costa Rica too.

Nicaragua joins the world in brewing beer. The verdict on Nica beer is out among the world's beer connoisseurs. Beer snobs seem to prefer the darker beers over the lighter Nica Pilsners. Victoria and Tona (pronounced Tonya, blogspot will not let me use the "~" symbol over the n) are the two largest brews from Nicaragua. Victoria seems to be the most ubiquitous with Tona not far behind. Most tasters seem to prefer the darker, bolder flavor of Tona over the lighter, more "Bud Light" flavor of Victoria.

I really am not a beer snob so I see little difference. I just know that it is not really Nicaragua unless I have a Vicki or Toni near by. In the past, we could only get Victoria in the countryside so that is why I began drinking Vicki. I have more recently acquired a taste for Toni, as I do believe it has gotten better and has smoothed out a bit. Victoria has released a new beer called "Premium" that looks like a Corona. I have not had many and do not see the reason to pay more for it over a Toni or Vicki.

Every Cantina has a new shiny cooler advertising Victoria, Tona, or even the new Brazilian (another country heard from) Brahva. Each claim to have the coldest beer available, with a digital thermometer to prove it. I am a little suspect, as some of them register quite a few degrees below freezing. With the coming of electricity to much of the campo, the beer is colder now than it was.

Vicki and Toni may not be in the same league as Flo, but these ladies are certainly more popular. Given the choice however, most Nicas would dance with Flo anytime!

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