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Friday, April 15, 2016


It was 100 degrees outside this Trinidad, Cuba restaurant.  Perfect time for a cool cerveza.
The classic cliché be careful what you wish for has come home to roost in Cuba.  As relations between the USA and the Communist isle have begun to normalize, who would have thought the first crisis between the former political adversaries would be a shortage of beer?
Publisher Mike Shess of West Coaster craft beer magazine
samples the local IPA brewed at Factoria Plaza Vieja in
Old Havana
American journalists on the front barstools of the crisis report as more
U.S. tourists flock to Cuba not only are they taking up all the hotel rooms but they’re drinking all the beer.  So much so that makers of the island’s favorite brews Cristal and Bucanero are mulling building new breweries pronto to cope with the demand for suds.  And, to stem the crisis becoming pandemic breweries are importing beer from the Dominican Republic.

Add plenty of humidity and it becomes thirsty work being a tourist, especially those Americanos who aren’t used to the tropical climate. 

Having returned from a trip to Cuba recently, this blog reports it’s not uncommon to down three or four beers during meals.  The staple of the Cuban diet, pulled pork, beef, fresh fish, rice, rice and more rice makes beer the perfect pairing for that cuisine.  And, since tap water consumption for gringos is still a no no--even in the best hotels—beer is the beverage of choice.

Paella, as served at Valencia restaurant in
Old Havana, pairs nicely with Cuba's popular
Cristal cerveza.
Cuba received a record 3.5 million visitors last year, up 17% from 2014. American visitors rose 77% to 161,000, in addition to hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans, testing the country’s supply of hotel room, rental cars and beer.

But to be fair, the American’s aren’t 100% to blame.  Because most of the world (read Canada and Europe) have been free to visit Cuba, tourism has skyrocked even before the Yanqui détente.

Yes, it is time to visit Cuba before there is a shortage of everything (except tourists).


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