5 microbrews to help you beat the heat in Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The HOP3 Festival de la Cerveza held in Mérida’s Paseo 60 was lots of fun. I would consider going back if they hold it again to try even more local microbrews. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

After a surprisingly positive experience tasting several microbrews on the market in Yucatán, I decided to give it yet another go and taste even more local beers. 

As I mentioned in the previous review, in my opinion, Yucatecan craft beers have not been all that good until relatively recently. I am unsure if the dramatic improvement comes from a maturing of the industry, the use of higher quality ingredients, or perhaps an influx of new brewers with experience from elsewhere. I suspect the answer is a combination of all three.

On this occasion, I made my way to the HOP3 Festival de la Cerveza in Mérida’s Paseo 60. Unlike the Festival del Taco y Cerveza Artesanal a couple of weeks ago, this event was not held during the daytime and was not nearly as blistering hot. Festival organizers, if you are reading this, avoiding the daytime is definitely the way to go. 

I am a big believer in the need of drinking at least one full bottle of beer in order to be able to review it, so that means no cheating and taking a little sip here and another there. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Several of my new favorite local beers including the American Stout by Fervor and Acasillados’ Cerveza de Miel were at the event. But in the spirit of trying something different I chose to refrain from my new favorites and try out other breweries and new varieties. 

Although the sun had gone down, it was still warm so I decided to choose mostly beers advertised as light and refreshing. It is April in Yucatán after all. 

Redstone Red Ale, Meteoro Brewing Co. 

Judging a beer by its label is a bad idea, but I have been overall impressed by the artwork used by Yucatán’s local breweries. This Redstone Red Ale was certainly no exception  — you have to love that Pajaro T’ho (Mot Mot) on the label. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This “toasty” 4.5% beer is a good deal lighter than you would expect given its color. It has a fairly decent body but still goes down very easily. The level of carbonation was just right and helped provide an extremely nice mouthfeel. It was served really good and cold. I could see myself picking up a six-pack of this in the future. 

Redstone Red Ale, Meteoro Brewing Co. on Facebook

Summer Lager, Casa Pinillos Brewing Company

This was the only beer from one of the breweries I tasted last time, but unfortunately, it did not quite live up to my expectations. That being said, others in my group (especially the women) seemed to enjoy it more. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

With an alcohol volume of just 3.8 this Summer Lager is in many ways exactly what you would expect, light and refreshing. But this lager’s body was lacking to the point that it bordered on watery. It was also light on carbonation and as a result not particularly foamy. 

I was a little disappointed because my previous experience with Casa Pinillos Session IPA had been so positive. Though it was not my favorite brew of the night,  it was by no means bad and went down well on a hot and humid spring evening. 

Casa Pinillos Brewing Company on Facebook

Cometa Redish Ale, Cerveza Villamil 

Despite my general enthusiasm for local microbrews, one issue I have noticed many of them share is a lack of what I would consider a substantial body. Perhaps this is down to local preferences. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This reddish beer has hints of nuts and caramel but manages to still be very light. Despite having so much going on, this 5% beer was surprisingly balanced but lacked much body or texture to speak off. It also had a considerable hopsy aftertaste. Looking around Cerveza Villamil’s Facebook page it would appear this beer is still in a bit of an experimental phase, so I would cut them a little slack. 

Cerveza Villamil on Facebook

Witbier, Milos Brew Cerveza Artesanal

Milos’ Witbier packs an interesting combination of flavors and shows the brewery’s potential for crafting exceptional beers. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This 4% wheat beer served on tap is accented with rosemary and mandarine, though the former is much more noticeable in the taste and the latter when it comes to aroma. It goes down very easily but toward the end of the glass, you are likely to feel a slight aftertaste. Founded in 2020, Milos has already made its line of products available in several locations including The Beer Box, Taberna Montejo, and at the DeLorean Bar. 

Milos Brew Cerveza Artesanal on Facebook

Rose Pale Ale, Cerveza Aventureros 

When I first saw this Rose Pale Ale, I dismissed it as gimmicky, but boy was I wrong. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

I am usually not a huge fan of beers that try to pack too many different flavors into one bottle, but this Rose Pale Ale’s unique mix of mango, guanabana, and passion fruit is downright delicious. The alcohol volume of this particularly great-tasting beer is 5.6% and is also notable for its abundant foaminess. Aventureros’ brewery appears to have begun in Jalisco but has now moved at least some of its operations to Yucatán. It sounds like there is an interesting story here and I will be reaching out to them to see if I can bring it out in the near future. 

Cerveza Aventureros on Facebook

The verdict

Once again I was very impressed. Even with the beers I was a bit more critical of, I think there is something interesting there. But my favorite of the night had to be the Rose Pale Ale by Aventureros. To be fair, this was the last beer I indulged in on this particular evening, but I think it says something that when I got hungry and ordered some food I went back and ordered another. 

The Rose Pale Ale by Aventureros was flavorful enough to get me coming back for more but light enough to pair well with a heavy bacon cheeseburger at the end of the evening. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

As most of these breweries are quite small, most are still relying on a home delivery model, though a few are available at some stores and bars. Check out their Facebook pages for more information regarding availability. 

Well, there you have it. Let me know if you disagree with any of my assessments or if there is some delicious local beer that has somehow avoided my attention thus far. Until next time, bottoms up!

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