Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reports & Ramblings From a Beer-Addled Mind #4

BC Beer Awards

The winners of the BC Beer Awards were recently announced and I have to say that it is quite surprising how the voting goes when those judging are doing so without previous knowledge of what brewery the beer comes from or what beer they are judging. I believe that at beer festival events and competitions like the annual CAMRA awards, the voting is often a popularity contest and winners are decided even before the beers are drank. Beers, breweries and establishments at times win on reputation. Block voting skews results and great brews get overlooked because they are not from the sexy, brewery-of-the-moment or brewed by the most popular brewer.

Another factor in these awards is that they actually had knowledgeable judges working within a specific set of guidelines. I understand they judged on how the beers fit the specific styles they are entered into. Judging was more than,``Wow, that was a great, tasty beer`` and had everything to do with official beer style guidelines. From what I understand, this was a bit of a sticking point with some of the judges who wanted to vote according to likes and dislikes and not according to whether the beer was a good example of the style or not. It really shocked me to see a pilsner take ``Best in Show``, but from what I have heard it was because this beer was the best example of a beer rating the highest for all the criteria within that beer`s style. Congrats to Steamworks and Conrad Gmoser for taking this honor.

With all due respect to breweries such as Lighthouse, if they put their beers into the same competition with the beers identified, I don`t think they would have won awards. Maybe I am wrong, but I can`t see it. That is not a knock on their beers - Keeper`s Stout is a great beer which my wife and I drink all the time and on the rare occasions that I pick up a six-pack of lager, I usually reach for their`s - it is a cynical observation and a commentary on the way people vote for beers in most competitions. It is my belief that more often than not the name and brand of a beer has a major influence in what people think about that beer, at least what they think publicly. Often, it seems to me, that unless a beer is high octane and an imperial this, imperial IPA or barrel-aged/infused that it does not rate with the beer snob crowd. And at times I think certain breweries could just piss in a bottle, label it a ``special/limited release`` and it would sell, receive great reviews and be raved about.

So I was really intrigued by the results of this blind tasting competition and you know what, the usual suspects did not win all categories.

Congrats to all the winners. I was very happy to see some of my favourites among those collecting hardware, particularly Howe Sound`s Woolley Bugger Barley Wine, which took the bronze medal in the Strong Beer Category and which I think was one of last year`s best brews and has been very under-rated. I was also very pleased to see Driftwood get so much recognition as I feel they are the best overall brewery in BC at the moment and can seemingly do nothing but hit home runs with their beers. Their Fat Tug IPA is a regular in my pint glass these days and very nicely priced to boot.

I was a little surprised at the beers that didn`t make the cut. Howe Sound`s Pothole Filler, which I rate up with the best Imperial Stouts around was, in my opinion, conspicuous by its absence but then I am not sure if it was even entered. Same with Crannog`s brews which were not mentioned at all in the awards. But that is the nature of beer. What I like and rate highly may repulse the person sitting next to me. That is why I don`t review and rate beers on this blog.

On a final note in regards to the BCBAs, I just want to let organizers know that I would be willing sacrifice a day of my life and suffer through a long day of tasting some great BC beers if they find themselves in need of another judge next year. It is a dirty job but somebody has to do it. Keep me in mind folks...just saying.

CAMRA YVR Has Some BIG Shoes to Fill

Martin Williams and myself
enjoying a pint together
 Earlier this week I, along with all other CAMRA YVR members, received an email message announcing that CAMRA YVR President, Martin Williams has resigned from his post. This is not good news for CAMRA as Martin, although not in the position long, had really infused a lot of his personal energy into the organization in his attempt to motivate and mobilize the membership to get involved and try to effect change as an active consumer advocacy group.

In short, he was attempting to put the CAM back into CAMRA.

Of course it was not just Martin spearheading this move to action. The rest of the CAMRA YVR executive have worked very hard and are still in place, ready to help support the new president, whoever that will be. I just hope that the focus and momentum won`t be lost with this change and that membership have some worthy potential presidents to choose from and do so wisely.

I believe CAMRA can be a successful lobby group here in BC if they continue to grow and stay focused on trying to effect some change to the status quo. I would hate the see the organization slip back into old habits and do nothing more than organize a few beer festivals here and there. To keep moving forward, CAMRA YVR requires and energetic, focused and knowledgeable person willing to lead and motivate the CAMRA membership at large. This next choice of president could be a pivotal point in CAMRA YVR`s development and growth. The craft beer industry here in BC is booming but both the industry and consumers need to press government to make changes to the existing liquor laws and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to bring the liquor industry into the 21st Century. CAMRA could definitely have a roll in lobbying the government to make these changes but first must continue to grow, organize and formulate a strategy. CAMRA`s membership, guided by their president and the executive, must develop a political will and a political voice if they want to be anything more than a beer appreciation club.

As a CAMRA YVR member, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin for his hard work in regards to CAMRA. I wish him well in his future endeavours, whatever they may be. He was one of the major reasons I became a CAMRA member last year.

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

I have not blogged on the Vancouver Craft Beer Week as I knew that there would be no shortage of people doing so. I only was able to attend one event, Brothers in Hops, which I enjoyed immensely. I thought the event was very professional, intimate and there were some great beers on offer.

I know that VCBW has its detractors and critics, some of which have leveled criticism at the event organizers for featuring too many US-based breweries. Although in some peoples' minds local breweries get overshadowed by their US cousins such as Hopworks, Deschutes, Elysian, etc at events such as VCBW and GCBF, I believe our best brewers are second to none and more than hold their own. At Brothers in Hops events, I felt that Central City Brewery had the two best brews on offer, with their Imperial IPA and sherry/oaked cask conditioned imperial porter outshining the excellent beers on tap from Ninkasi (Eugene, Oregon) and Hopworks (Portland, Oregon). Although BC craft breweries may not compare in numbers to those in say Washington and Oregon, they are on an equal level when it comes to skill level, creativity and the beers they produce.

It would be nice to have a larger event that features just BC beers and maybe BC brewers should get together to run their own festival doing just that. I, for one, really don`t care if there are US-based breweries at events such as VCBW. The organizers are trying to sell tickets and would be crazy not to take advantage of the fact that there are many world-class craft breweries just south of the 49th. There was plenty of local representation at the VCBW events. I really liked the concept to the BC beer tap takeover at St Augustine`s where at one point there were 30 BC beers on tap! There were many great BC beers not represented at the BC tap takeover but a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are some breweries and brewpubs out there that just won`t put their beers on tap at St Augustine`s for some reason known only to the brewers. But that is another rant for another time. I also liked the concept of the VCBW Cascadian Dark Ale collaboration beer, where 28 BC breweries pitched in to create a beer especially for the event.

I hope that one day we do see a BC-only multiple-day festival, but we should not expect organizers of events like the VCBW to limit what beers they feature in their event because at the end of the day, they are attempting to make money. I applaud the organizers for their hard work and commitment to bringing great world-class craft beers to Vancouver and for creating a buzz in this sometimes sleepy city.

BeerTourist Planning a Foray to the Great Canadian Beer Festival

Before I go any further, I must let you know that I am one of the founding members of BeerTourist so that is why I support it and advertise for it here on my blog. I, along with the rest of BeerTourist, are in the process of putting together a trip to Victoria for the Great Canadian Beer Festival on Sept 10/11. We still need to confirm a few things and work out some minor details, but BeerTourist hopes to have everything in place by the end of June so we can begin selling tickets. A priority waitlist for those interested has been started as we will only be selling 50 tickets, enough to fill one bus.

The list is close to full, but we are still taking names as those on the priority list may opt out when time comes to buck up, so if you are interested, please email with your name and contact info. We plan on leaving early on the Saturday morning so we can arrive at Victoria`s Royal Athletic Park in time for the noon opening of the festival and will return to Vancouver directly after the festival closes at 6 PM Saturday evening. Our ticket will include admission into the GCBF and return transportation (including ferry fees). Those going on the trip will be responsible for buying their own beer tokens, except for the tokens included with the admission ticket, and feeding themselves at the festival.

If you are interested, please get your name on the waitlist. It is not a commitment to buy, but does get you your chance to buy a ticket (or two) if you want. Last year the festival sold out on-line in a matter of minutes. BeerTourist, through their connections, are hoping to be able to secure tickets for our tour. Please check back at or at our Beer Tourist Facebook page for more details and updates. You can follow us on Twitter @vanbeertourist.

Monday, May 23, 2011

BC as a Beer Tourist Destination is a Win-Win-Win Situation

VCBW along with The Great Canadian Beer Festival show
BC has the right stuff to become a major
destination for beer tourists.
Well done Vancouver Craft Beer Week organizers, host establishments and to all those who bought tickets and made the week-long celebration of craft beer a success!!

The main thing I took away from the VCBW, not counting the IPA-induced hangover I had the day after the Brothers in Hops event, is that British Columbia has a huge potential to become a craft beer destination and not for just one week of the year and not just centered in Vancouver. Victoria's Great Canadian Beer Festival, which has been highlighting BC craft beers and drawing beer tourists to their event since 1993, is another example of how a local event has the ability to draw beer enthusiasts from beyond their local scene. The Okanagan Fest of Ales is another prime example of how an event can draw both local and out-of-town beer enthusiasts to a craft-beer focused event. At the Brothers in Hops event I met several people who had come to Vancouver from out-of-town, some from quite a distance, for the VCBW and I am sure this was the case for the majority, if not all the events held during the week.

But I am wondering to myself why those involved in the craft beer industry wait for a major event such as the VCBW to lure out-of-towners to their communities to explore and taste the amazing craft beers available in this province. British Columbia is thought of as one of the most beautiful places in the world, hence Beautiful BC on our license plates. This province has something to offer almost everyone including the discerning craft beer lover. Tourism is a major industry here and we have a burgeoning and booming craft beer industry so it makes sense to me to marry the two. I know that I have seen advertising and package tours produced by the wine industry trying to lure tourists to the Okanagan, so why would it not work for craft beer? Our province is carved up into distinct and diverse regions, each with their own unique characteristics, including, for the most part, great craft breweries. It seems only natural that an industry such as the craft beer industry, take advantage of these natural assets to help draw people to their areas to tour their breweries and drink their beers.

The Ontario Craft Brewers Opportunity
Fund  encourages craft beer manufacturers
to expanded activities to grow their
business and be more competitive

The Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) successfully lobbied the Ontario Provincial Government for grant money to help their industry thrive and grow by working the angle they could help increase and enhance tourism in the province. The government developed the Ontario Microbrewery Strategy (OMS)and provided the OCB with significant grant money, $5 million over five years, "for marketing, training and other promotion activities for Ontario's small brewers". With that money, the association has been able to join together to market craft beer and promote themselves, benefiting both the industry as a whole and the breweries individually. In addition to the OMS, the Ontario government, once it realized how viable the craft beer industry was and how much of an economical upside there was to supporting it, went a step further and put $8 million into the Ontario Craft Brewers Opportunity Fund, which helps support the development and expansion of smaller craft breweries (those that produce 300,000 hectolitres or less).

According to Steve Eaton of the BrandFire Marketing Group, who have worked with the OCB for the past four years to develop their marketing campaign, the province's craft beer industry saw significant growth after being able to secure their substantial government grants which allowed them to develop such great promotional tools as their Discovery Pack, iPhone app, podcasts and very interactive and informative website. By getting the politicians on board, using tourism as their proverbial foot in the door, the OCB have put themselves on the Ontario political map. 

By actively trying to lobby the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Training and its minister Pat Bell, the BC Craft Brewers Guild may be able to tap into funding they can use to help their industry grow in strength and numbers so they can better take on the mega macrobreweries in the market place. When I recently spoke to the BC Craft Brewers Guild (BCCBG) Co-chair, Tod Melnyk, for a recent post entitled "No More Excuses", Melynk's Number One reason why the BCCBG are not more active and high-profile is the guild's lack of financial resources. He stated this was the OCB's government support was a major factor in their ability to be so advanced, organized and successful and he is not wrong. But the OCB did not just sit on their butts and wait for the government to dump money on their front door. No, they actively formulated a plan and went after the money. If I were the BCCBG, I would be sitting up and taking notice of my Ontario brethren and contacting them for some advice on how to successfully lobby a government for funds. Those are some substantial dollars being funneled the way of the Ontario craft beer industry. I know the political climate may be different out east, but we have both provincial and municipal elections looming, which is usually a good time to go looking for money from the powers that be who are trying to befriend as many voters as possible.

A quick glance at the BC Tourism Partners BC Tourism Associations list shows that both the their are 38 groups working with Tourism BC, three related to the wine industry, but none related directly to the craft beer. This may be a good place to start. Lobbying the government to recognize and support the craft beer industry may take substantial time and effort, but if the payoff is grant money and support like the OCB currently have, it would be well worth the effort. Our provincial government seems to always want to follow in the footsteps of Ontario (hello HST) so the BC brewers can use the example set by Ontario to help further their lobby. It seems to be a win-win-win situation in Ontario, with the OCB getting substantial funding to help their industry grow and market itself while the Province of Ontario is gaining jobs and positive economic spin-offs from the contributions the craft breweries to the economy and the consumers are getting more and more great craft to choose from.

The Ontario Craft Brewers successfully lobbied
the Provincial Government for millions of dollars...maybe our BC craft brewers
should take some lessons.

If it is too daunting a task for the BCCBG to organize craft breweries from the entire province to lobby, I don't see why smaller regional craft brewers associations can't be formed which can then work in smaller groups to promote their regions and go after municipal and provincial government support. Why not a Vancouver Island Craft Brewers Association, Lower Mainland Craft Brewer's Association or an Okanagan Craft Brewers Association? Maybe if the brewers get organized and in sync on a local level, they can then move to join forces province-wide later on down the road. Smaller regional brewers associations may also be able to link up with local wine and vintners associations to promote tours and tourism through advertising, festivals etc.

I think it is about time that those breweries employing our talented brewers get more politically motivated and up their game. If we want our craft beer scene to continue to mature, grow and become more vibrant, then those involved need to start supporting and promoting their own industry as a whole. If we want to strive to be an Oregon/Portland-like mecca for craft beer and destination for craft beer lovers from all over N America, our local craft breweries have to develop the political will to do what they can to better their industry here. By luring tourists to our great province to drink craft beer, the industry can widen its market and local consumers will undoubtedly benefit from a stronger local scene which will be able to support more craft breweries, producing more great craft beers and craft-beer friendly establishments for them to frequent.

Beautiful BC is the perfect
setting to turn into a craft-beer

The government should be able to see the logic in supporting a growing industry. Supportive grant money could mean more craft breweries which means more jobs in BC and increased tax dollars taken in from the businesses themselves and from the sale of the beer to licensed establishments and to consumers.  Creating a beer tourist friendly atmosphere could bring new travellers to BC who will be also spending money on hotels, meals, entertainment etc which benefits all in the communities they are visiting.
Let's face it, this shouldn't be hard of a sell.

Supernatural BC, great craft beer....sounds like a great place for a vacation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Por la Cerveza Libre, Vive la Révolution

Craft beer in Mexico!!
There may be hope for craft beer lovers heading to Mexico after all.

It seems my January 12, 2011 post, entitled In Search of the Ultimate Cerveza - Final Chapter, may have been a bit premature when I wrote about the lack of a craft beer scene in Mexico and the apathetic attitude from the locals about the need for one. Although I could find no evidence of craft beer during my month in Acapulco/Mexico City last December and had not been able to locate any suds of quality on my many previous trips to various parts of the country, it appears there is a craft beer revolution afoot, spearheaded by a small-but-passionate group of Mexican craft brewers and craft beer advocates who are fighting tooth and nail against Mexico's big two breweries, Grupo Modelo and Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, who have dominated and controlled the country's beer scene for decades.

Can it be true that finally Imperial stouts, barley wines, IPAs and Belgian wits, Mexican style, are muscling out the light lagers from Mexico's tavernas and beaches?
Will I finally be able to find and enjoy brews with body, flavour, hops and 5+ ABV while vacationing in the sunny clims of Mexico?

Yes, it appears so, but don't expect to find these artisan beers to be widely available. As with the craft beer scene here in BC, circa 1990, it does exist, you just have to know where to look for it and in a country of 112 million+ inhabitants, it can like looking for a needle in a haystack if you don't know where to start.  Trust me, I have been looking for that damn needle for years.

As with many things in my life, I stumbled upon this information through no effort of my own. This past week I had two separate friends, completely independent of each other, alert me to the fact that there is craft beer being produced in Mexico. One friend told me he had spoken to someone who had recently attended a Mexican craft beer festival and immediately thought of my blog post and my voiced frustration of not being able to find anything but macrobrews will on my last vacation there. A few days later another friend forwarded me an excellent article written by Cristian Salazar, of The Associated Press, dated May 5/11, about the Mexican craft beer movement. This was too much of a coincidence for me so I thought I'd continue my search for the ultimate cerveza virtually and do a little investigation.

Despite the fact I have searched on-line, as recently as Jan/11, for info on craft beer in Mexico and found none, I found plenty of websites (in Spanish) and a few good articles, in English relating to Mexican craft beer this time around. In keeping with Mexican history and tradition, the craft beer movement mentioned in the Salazar article has the revolutionary-sounding name Por la Cerveza Libre (For the Liberated Beer) and the idea for it was apparently hatched in a Mexico City pub designed to look like an illegal, Prohibition era speakeasy.

If my Spanish skills are up to speed, according to info on the Por la Cerveza Libre website, the two big breweries have tied up 95% of all establishments who sell/serve beer in Mexico with exclusive contracts. I can vouch for the fact that the two main chains of convenience stores, Extra and Oxo (similar to 7-11), are exclusively tied to either one brewery or the other. The site also states that for every 1,000 beers consumed in the country, only two are craft beer. Other statistics and articles state the ratio is 8 craft beer per 1,000 but even that is a drop in the bucket and shows just how little headway the craft breweries have made into the Mexican beer market. Por la Cerveza Libre want to change all that and state in a written manifesto they want, "to choose what we consume based on our tastes, translates as free choice, a fundamental right of every person."  The group are hoping to use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to support and promote establishments serving and selling craft beer to spread the word.

True to form, like all revolutionaries, the Mexican craft brewers are up against it - out manned, out gunned, and going up against the establishment, backed by the full weight of the ruling elite and who want to keep the status quo. They number somewhere just shy of 20 and are at a distinct disadvantage, so it won't be easy for them to grow and grab a greater share of the market. Tied houses and trade practice inducements are alive and well in Mexico which is how the two big breweries have managed to secure exclusive deals with most retail chains, restaurants and distributors. Many of the breweries have had to take advantage of the lack of tied house regulations and start their own restaurants/pubs/liquor stores in order to sell their beers. Two of the bigger craft breweries, Minerva and Primus, have banded together to open a chain of pubs/retail liquor stores, kitted out to look like Prohibition era gin joints and speakeasies, called El Deposito which are are based mainly in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta and which feature dozens of Mexican and imported craft beers. In fact it was in one of the El Depositos that the forces behind Por la Cerveza Libre hatched their plan. I was also able to locate websites for another chain of tavernas and boutiques called The Beer Box which feature a array of craft beers both domestic and imported as well. I even noticed they sell Old Rasputin, which although not Mexican, I would happily drink after a stressful day on the beach. 

Minerva and Primus breweries opened a chain of
pubs/liquor stores designed to look like Prohibition Era
booze cans in order to feature Mexican
 & imported craft beers
Distribution and sales are not the craft brewers only hurdles they need to clear to compete in the market with the big boys. As is the case here, craft beer tends to be more expensive to brew, due to the use of traditional, quality ingredients, many of which have to be imported into Mexico and due to the fact that they brew in much smaller batches compared to the large macrobreweries. As well, most brewing equipment must be imported and when dealing in Mexican pesos on the international market this can be quite costly. When I add together nearly non-existent distribution and sales points, higher production costs, the terrible economy that you find in Mexico, non-existent tax breaks from the government and the extremely small craft beer culture that exists there, I understand why I have had trouble finding these beers. There are more and more craft beer-friendly establishments trying to make a go of it, due in large part to the brewers showcasing their own brews by starting their own pubs and restaurants, like El Deposito.  The brewers are also banding together to bring attention to how the big two breweries have been limiting consumer choices and dictating what types of beer are available on the market. If you look at the end of the post, I have included a list of craft-beer establishments taken from the Por la Cerveza Libre website. It is not an all-inclusive list, but it does give you a starting point if you are searching for good beer in Mexico.

Despite all the odds stacked against them, some of the Mexican brewers are pushing the limits and challenging Mexican palates by introducing styles never-before produced in that country. Instead of light lagers and Viennese pilsners, the craft brewers are producing a variety of styles including imperial stouts, porters, IPAs and Belgian style beers. I even read one brewery, Mexicali's Cerveceria Cucapa, has released a tequila barrel aged barley wine! I would love to get my hands on a case or two of that for my beer cellar. It is going to be a battle with my wife for space in our luggage the next time we return from visiting her family in Mexico if I can get my hands on any of these beers. Instead of bringing home bottles of tequila, it will be tequila barrel-aged barley wine!!

 Mexico is also now also home to the second biggest Latin American beer festival, which has only been in existence since 2008.  La Festival de la Cerveza  (The Festival of Beers), is held each year in Guadalajara, Mexico, the country's second largest city and one of the craft beer epi-centres. The festival last year featured 24 different breweries, both micro and macro, from Mexico and around the world. The notes on the festival's web page stated they could accommodate up to 10,000/day, but there was not actual stats as to how many attended. I had to laugh when I read the ticket info, which listed the event at 40 pesos ($3.5 Cd), with ninos gratis (kids free)! I couldn't find any info about when next year's event will be held from the website but I have fired off an email requesting least I think that is what I wrote in Spanish. I have holidays next October and would love nothing better than to head south so I can check out the festival and the craft beer bars so I can give a firsthand report.

My wife, who was born and raised in Acapulco and whose family still resides there, is very excited I have stumbled upon this information and not because she is curious to see what Mexican craft beer tastes like. She is a Corona gal, who will, if there is no choice, sip a Keeper's Stout or three, so craft beer is not a draw for her. No, she is excited because after spending all of our holidays in Mexico the last two years, I was leaning to going somewhere else. Now, she knows that the siren's song is calling me back south and that I will not be able to resist heading back to Mexico next October to discover what the craft beer scene there is all about. I see it as a win-win-win wife gets to visit with her family and vise versa, my in-laws get to visit with their granddaughter and I get to sneak off to do more "research" in search of the ultimate cerveza.

Por la Cerveza Libre!

Vive la Révolution!!! 

List of craft beer friendly establishments in Mexico (Taken from
El Depósito
Mexico City 
Baja California 375, Condesa
Mexico City
Tamaulipas 56, Condesa
La Nacional
Mexico City
Nuevo León frente al Péndulo, Condesa
Mexico City 
Pachuca 1 Col. Condesa
Mexico City
Orizaba 125 Int E col. Roma
The Beer Box Córdoba
Av. 3 620-B, Col. Centro
The Beer Box Cuernavaca
Vicente Guerrero 104, Col. Lomas de la Serva Oriente
The Beer Box Condesa
Mexico City
Francisco Márquez 129, Condesa
The Beer Box Satélite
Mexico City
Av. Fuentes de Satélite 112, Satélite
The Beer Box Villa Coapa
Mexico City
Calzada del Hueso 140-C, Villa Coapa
El Woko
Mexico City
Nuevo León 139, Col Condesa
La Belga
Mexico City
Querétaro casi esq. Orizaba, Col Roma
The Beer Box Guadalajara
Niño Obrero 502
The Beer Box "La Taverna"
López Cotilla 1959 Esq. Fco Javier Gamboa, Col. Obrera
El Depósito
López Mateos 805, Col. Jardines del Bosque
El Depósito
Av. Chapultepec 129, Col Americana
The Beer Box Mérida
Calle 1H 105 x8 y 10, Fraccional Residencial
The Beer Box Monterrey
Bosques de la Cima 2735, Bosques de la Pastora
The Beer Box San Pedro
José Vasconcelos 301, Col del Valle
The Beer Box Puebla
Rosendo Márquez 23B, Col. La Paz
El Depósito
Puerto Vallarta
Pulpito 116, Col. Emiliano Zapata
The Beer Box San Luis Potosí
Cuauhtémoc 1300, Esq. Juan Oñate, Col Jardín
The Beer Box "La Taverna"
Boulevard Sánchez Taboada 4499, Zona Rio
The Beer Box Toluca
Aquiles Serdpan 203, Col. La merced
The Beer Box Tuxtla
1a Norte Poniente 1255B Poniente, Col Centro
La divina comida
Mexico City