All over the central area of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico are these little carts selling Cervecita Dulce or sweet beer. It is one of the things that you see every day but never think to try. I asked a few friends what it was and they had never tried it either. Apparently, it is some sort of mystery.
There is also remarkably little information on the Internet. What I have gathered is that over 100 years ago Mr. Augustine Penagos brought his secret formula over from some unspecified place in Europe. It contains no alcohol and is good for the whole family. It is said to contain all of the best ingredients of regular beers which, “allows us to enjoy great taste”. It is also said to have great healing powers and help with “intestinal flora”. If you have the flu you can take it hot because it makes an “excellent expectorant’”. You can also mix it with your favorite drink to make a delicious punch.
I went for my sweet beer straight. The clear liquid was lightly carbonated and smelled of lime and ginger. It tasted like a very sweet and slightly thicker version of Sprite™. Not my favorite thing in the world but definitely nothing to fear taste wise. Apparently, Mr. Penagos was offered “attractive sums” for his formula but he refused and the secret has been passed down from his heirs in San Cristobal as “an additional contribution to our rich and varied cuisine Sancristobalense.” It is worth trying.