When I was 25, my girlfriend and I went to Mexico for a month. I’d never heard of windsurfing back then, so this wasn’t some summer trip to La Ventana. We went to study Spanish and meet people. The area we visited was The Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas. Many people go there to visit the town San Cristobal de las Casas, the little tourist darling where you could sit in a coffee shop and feel like you were on a college campus in the US. It was a lovely place, but the town I remember more, and more fondly, was Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Many of the travelers we met in places like San Cristobal de las Casas told us to avoid Tuxtla because it was “dirty” and “just a factory town.” We went anyway, and they were right. Tuxtla was big, and messy, and dirty, and nobody wanted to speak English. In short, it was everything someone could fall in love with in a city. It had a great local brewery, amazing parks, and the most amazing zoo I’d ever seen.
Two decades later, I’ve all but forgotten everything about the little tourist gem towns we visited, but I still remember sitting in the sun at the Tuxtla zoo, warm, buzzed, and drinking a light, tangy, and surprisingly sweet local lager. I can’t make beer, so I decided to try to make a perry that reminded me of that day sitting in the Tuxtla zoo. Made with local pears, it’s light, tangy, and surprisingly sweet. We called it Somos Uno to honor both the country it came from and many of the people from that country who picked the pears right here in our Valley. And all proceeds from it go to Gorge Ecumenical Ministries to support their Somos Uno initiative of welcoming and supporting immigrants and their families.
[By John Metta, Cidermaker]