• Dining

One Big Holiday

You don’t miss your water (or hops, yeast, and Malt)


February 16, 2017
By Jeff Gredlein | The Beer Snob

I’m sitting on the beach, staring into the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Riveria Maya. It’s 80 degrees, the sand is white, and the ocean is blue and beautiful. And it’s the beginning of February. Are you kidding me? What did I do to deserve this?

I’ve traveled to the Hard Rock Resort in Mexico, to experience My Morning Jacket’s ‘One Big Holiday’ — the 3rd iteration, and on the agenda are sun, sand, relaxation, and rock n’ roll. Lots of rock n’ roll. As a matter of fact, the resort is built to give you the feeling that all there is to life is ROCK.

As the sun bakes down on my skin, and the waves crash against the coral, a tropical drink sits in my hand. Life is good and there’s nothing to complain about. The four-day event is built to ensure that all MMJ fans are well fed, completely pampered, and utterly inebriated. And nothing but positive vibes and happiness abounds.

The resort is amazing; not too posh, not too clean, but certainly a tropical paradise. Everything to be seen is lush and exotic. Swirling pools, lovely beaches, and perfect places are around every turn. And speakers all across the property, blasting the best of all the classic and alternative rock you’d want to hear by the seaside. Really, as much as “all-inclusive resorts” could be cheesy and boring, the Hard Rock is not.

What an amazing trip, surely a beautiful time. The people were warm and inviting, the location was stellar, and the music was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I really should be hard pressed to complain. However, I am the Beer Snob, and this is a beer column, and I guess I’ve come to expect top quality suds to accompany my every event.

In which case, the true let down of the trip was the beer. It was tolerable at best, unacceptable at worst. And it’s not to say that the lack of quality suds ruined my trip; they did not. However, every day there was a moment where either I wished and hoped for something more enjoyable, or I opined about how this would have been the perfect trip and time if only the beer gods were able to shine down on southeastern Mexico.

The wine to be had could be utter swill, or could rival the best of the South American grapes. The booze ran the gamut of plastic bottle swill to top shelf liquor. And all varieties of mixed and blended drinks accompanied every step I took.

But the beer was dismal. The selections were as follows: Bud Light, Corona Light, Corona Extra and Negra Modelo. Seriously, that was it. Two awful light beers, the lowest barrel crap of the Euro Lager style sluice, and one tolerable and very decent but average and increasingly boring German-style Vienna Lager. And boy let me tell you, in the hopes of enjoying the daily suds and setting one up for the brilliant concerts that lay ahead at night, I imbibed barrels full of that amber lager. Arrrrgh.

I guess I should just quiet down and take it. I was lucky to see My Morning Jacket for three nights in an exotic local, I enjoyed Gary Clark Jr. another evening, I embraced the tunes of Lucius, Deer Tick, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Kurt Vile and the Head and the Heart. The friends I made were lovely, the food was delicious, and I got a well-deserved massage. The service was next to none and overall experience was spectacular. Except for the beer. And damn, I just need the beer. Spoiled, yes, but it really does matter. The beer matters! Enjoy the sounds … Cheers.

Gene’s Haufbrau has at more than 200 beers in bottles or on tap. While they don’t have every beer the Beer Snob writes about, they probably  have most.. E-mail the Beer Snob at publisher@westof.net.

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