Now that you know where to drink craft beer in Mexico City, it’s time to talk about the beer itself. We were impressed by the number of breweries, the diversity of their products, and the overall quality of the beer in Mexico. Influences are definitely north of the border, with lots of porters, stouts, American-style Belgian ales, APAs and IPAs.
Craft beer is not always easy to find, though. A good beer store will boast hundreds of Mexican microbrews, but there are only a handful of those in the country. We found the best beer shopping and beer bars in Mexico City and Puebla. Even Oaxaca, hub of food and drink, did not have a vibrant beer scene. However, most good restaurants in major Mexican cities will carry a few craft beers in bottles. Craft beer is rarely on tap; when it is, it is usually at a brewpub.
Because I have not been taking beer notes regularly, the list is far from exhaustive. And please forgive the quality of images as they are all taken in low light on my old iPhone.
1. Baja Stout: A go-to oatmeal stout–or go-to anything, really. On the strong side at 7% but super smooth and drinkable.
2. Black Snow Horchata Stout: The different nuances all come together, with the horchata neatly fitting in with the dark malts. Smooth creamy body. Impressive, and not at all tasting like a gimmick flavored beer.
3. Galapago IPA: In general, Mexican IPA lacks brightness and character. Galapago was one of the exceptions.
4. La Lucha: In San Cristobal de las Casas, it was difficult finding the local craft beer. The few places that carried beers from the 3 (or so) local breweries were often out of stock. When we did find the beer, we were unfortunately disappointed with the exception of La Lucha. Not a great beer overall but worthwhile when you’re in San Cristobal.
5. Dia de los Muertos Porter. Solid brew.
6. Nopalea C: Technically, this is not a Mexican beer because it was made by a Czech brewery. I did not care much for this beer, but appreciate the use of traditional Mexican ingredients (other than chocolate and chilis) and thought it deserved a shout-out. However, it was not nearly as successful as the Black Snow horchata stout.
7. Tierra Blanca was one of the big surprises in Mexican beer. Witbier almost never satisfies me, but this Oaxacan brew is well-constructed with a hoppy finish. If you like Hitachino Nest wit beer, you might like this too.
8. Jabalí: Again, a real surprise. Jabalí is a pale bock (hellasbock): a style some German breweries struggle with. Yet Primus brewery really nailed it. Clean, crisp, dry, and alcohol well-disguised. Comes in a cool stubby bottle, too.
9. Agua Mala Mantis. This witbier was similar to Tierra Blanca in that it was crisp and dry, and doesn’t suffer from common issues like being too yeasty, sweet, or thin, having too much coriander, etc.
Among Mexican industrial swills, Bohemia Clara and Indio were standouts, as it was possible to drink more than one in a row. The former is hoppier and drier; the latter has more body.
What are your favorite Mexican craft beers?