Vibes & Vices: Chulada de Cerveza @Parque del Pitillal

The last time I visited Parque del Pitillal, located a few blocks past Macroplaza on Francisco Villa, it was to participate in a colorful children’s craft project, because that’s the type of person I am. This go-round, I arrived at the park with the intent of becoming fairly intoxicated with cheap and delicious craft beer, because that’s the type of person I am too.

What, do I have to choose or something?

The Vibes: In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say the event was a bit more understated than I envisioned, but since the words “beer festival” bring to mind a huge concert with pom-pom waving beerleaders and a foaming fountain of lager three stories tall, the event planners can hardly be blamed for my overstimulated imagination.

Instead, seven of the area’s top breweries brought their finest wares to the square on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, giving curious drunks a chance to discover Vallarta’s fast-growing selection of beers that are not terrible.

After successfully resisting the inflatable bounce house the organizers of the event had wisely brought onsite for parents to store their children in (but only because larger children such as myself are best served by dedicated trampoline parks like the new one in town that you will hear about soon), I drained the last of my terrible street beer and breezed toward the tables.

Because we share similar interests, I wasn’t surprised to see a few of my bar buddies already on the scene. Most of them sipped plastic cups of Drunk Norris, an American Pale Ale apparently formulated in the Marina Beer Lab specifically to kick one’s ass.

The Vices: Tasty as it was, I had my suddenly refined palate trained on the brewery’s coffee ale, which I would have happy to provide an unnecessarily convoluted description of in this sentence had any been available at the time. I was informed that the beer wasn’t cold enough yet–a perfectly valid reason to delay in serving it–and that I should return in 10 minutes or so.

Deferred but not defeated, I returned to my friends for 10 minutes or so of conversation about our typical bar topics, this time with the pleasant backdrop of Pitillal, because a change of pace is nice sometimes and that’s why people drink craft beer in the first place.

10 minutes or so later, I returned to the booth to repeat my request…only to have my dreams dry up like a raisin in the sun as the freshly amended sign announced that the beer was somehow sold out. Now that’s cold.

I was forced to drown my sorrows in a passion fruit sour, which was admittedly pretty good but received a substantial deduction on my scoring sheet because I didn’t get my way. An hour or two went by as I continued to sample the selection…a porter here, a stout there, a cider I didn’t care for (just so nobody can say I never say anything negative in this column) but I couldn’t help but to occasionally cast a longing glance at the “sold out” sign next to my brew of first choice.

As I gazed, I reflected on the inherent unfairness of life, the unpredictability of circumstance, and the relative nature of–wait, what’s this now?

I looked up from our conversation circle just in time to spot a technician from the Brew Lab changing the coffee ale listing from “sold out” to “1 left.” All pretence of civility flew from my body as I knocked several people to the ground with explosive momentum, treading upon their prone bodies in a mad dash to seize the last bottle for my very own.

If I needed forgiveness the church was right across the street.

Okay fine, no one was actually harmed in my pursuit of hoppiness, but I did make my way over there without delay. It was the most rewarding choice possible for my final beer of the festival…I even let a few friends take a sip because that’s the type of person I am as well.

The Verdict: In the immortal  words of an American Supreme Court justice, “I like beer,” and although I don’t mind drinking pretty much anything that fills a cooler with cans, I can also appreciate a well-made product. Chulada de Cerveza shone a spotlight on some of the region’s premium offerings, exposing them to the wider populace for what is hopefully the first of many such events in the future. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.