Belgica Soccer at La Rana Dorada

 

Ciudad de Panama, Panama

The World-Cup is in full swing. This huge global party is happening and there is no better place to enjoy than in Latin America. The layers of drama, from the screaming commentators on TV that make you deaf to the Uber drivers that decorate their cars till they no longer can see, to the mamas wearing the national jerseys with pride, nowhere in the world is soccer appreciated and celebrated more as here in the Latin world. I am happy to be here, always. Today, Monday June 18th , Panama is playing the Red Devils, the national team from Belgium. Important it’s Panama debut on the world stage, the first time that the national team made it to the World-Cup. Congratulations, Panama is ready!

No better place to be honest to watch one of 28 games is one of the La Rana Dorado brewpubs. The Rana brewpubs remind me of the nineties in the US, real brewpubs where the beer is good and plenty, the pizza is the way a pizza should taste and the difference is made by the company you are with. The beers that Berny, Jacky, Brad and David have created are technically sound and drink like a train. Don’t forget, we are in Panama where people drink cheap lagers a la Balboa, Atlas and Panama. The PILS (4.5 % ABV, 18 IBU) from La Rana is proof that you can also brew a tasty drinkable solid Lager. Of course, Berny and Brad are not at their first Rodeo, these guys started Bogota Beer Company in Colombia way back.

They also thought about my Belgian roots and have a BLANCHE (4.5% ABV, 18 IBU) and a GRAND CRU (7 % ABV, 21 IBU). Lauren, our Kathinka Lab Manager and my son Matt prefer the Grand Cru. Eimi, the La Rana waitress when I visited the pub in Clayton is a Blanche fan and I love the Pils, a beer you cannot really stop drinking. They also have an IPA (6.5% ABV, 80 IBU) popular with the younger crowd. To me it feels it needs a gentler hopping, there is plenty of bitterness but a bit I missed some floral aroma. I did enjoy it with the Chicken Tacos pizza, the cilantro and fresh avocado paired awesome with the IPA, it was hard not to have another one.

When you are in Panama, catch up on some soccer at one of the pubs. How did Panama do? They played well. First half was fun to watch, great discipline and stamina. Second half they did well too but Hazard, Mertens and Lukaku thought different, they wanted to win and by the 75th minute it was 3-0 for Belgium. Panama, be proud, great debut at the “Mundial”.

Proost!

Floris

proost: [noun] “cheers!” in Flemish; usually said when drinking with friends and family.