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Don’t miss out on the Top 5 craft beers made in Yucatán

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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.
Microbreweries are a growing trend in Mexico, with this niche industry growing in popularity advancing at a staggering pace. Photo: Courtesy

After living in Canada in the early 2000s, I developed a taste for craft beers. Upon returning to Yucatán, I was happy to discover that the trend had reached my hometown and excitedly ran out to taste as many as I could find.

I ended up being quite disappointed with the quality of Yucatán’s craft beers, which resulted in more than one headache. 

Fortunately, much has changed since then. Having had nearly two decades to mature and grow into their own, artisanal brewers in Yucatán are now preparing some truly delicious and unique beers. 

Aside from the larger “independent” brews like Patito and Ceiba, there are now a plethora of local producers. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

So, in the name of journalism (of course) I put myself to the task of tasting and reviewing several local microbrews and presenting my Top 5.

Phelddagrif Blonde Ale, by Thodes Ale 

Phelddagrif blonde ale, by Thodes Ale, served in a “vaso escarchado.” Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Phelddagrif is a blonde ale but much more amber in color than one would expect. It is smooth and easy to drink but a little lacking in body. It was also extremely smooth and leaves no aftertaste, pairing particularly well with some tacos de picaña

Tacos de picaña made with blue corn tortillas are the perfect pairing for this amber beer. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Beers produced by Thodes Ale include the IPA Fenrir and the stout Draugar. The names of their beers make reference to nordic mythology and feature labels with bizarre mythological creatures.

Thodes Ale Brewery on Facebook

Session IPA, by Casa Pinillos 

Session is a really solid India Pale Ale by any measure, and probably the best domestic take on IPA I have ever had. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This unique West Coast IPA with hints of citrus is extremely refreshing, but its aroma reminds me more of pineapple than orange, grapefruit, or lime. West Coast IPAs are known for being low in malt content, very clear, and dry with a focus on the hops.

Casa Pinillos also produces three other brews, including a pilsner, blond, and low calorie “ultra.” Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This is probably the best Yucatecan IPA I have ever had, as it balances that strong hops taste with great smoothness. Very refreshing and I will definitely purchase it again.

Casa Pinillos Brewing Company on Facebook

American Stout, by Fervor

Despite not really being the target demographic for this chocolate and coffee-flavored stout, I still really enjoyed it. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

One of the first Yucatecan microbrews I ever tasted was a similar American Stout, but this brew by Fervor is almost immeasurably superior. Given the color of this beer, one would expect it to have a much stronger body, but this was not the case.

Fervor also makes American wheat, citrus pale ale, and a standard pale ale — though my tiny samples were not really enough to pass judgment. Still, my impressions were positive. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

That being said, American Stout’s hints of coffee and chocolate are not exactly my cup of tea, though my girlfriend seemed to really enjoy it. After drinking half the bottle, a subtle after-taste began to develop that was largely compensated by a wonderful aroma.

Cerveza Fervor on Facebook

Cerveza de Miel, by Acasillados

Acasillados; Cerveza de Miel achieves a great balance between the flavor of its hops and natural honey. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gacht

In all honesty, I expected this beer-infused honey brew to be somewhat gimmicky, a novelty beer. I was mistaken. If you did not know right off the bat that this beer is infused with honey you may have a hard time putting your finger on the source of the sweet taste.

This is to say that the honey flavor is by no means overpowering and adds nicely to its bouquet. During my taste test, this beer went down extremely easily and was extremely light, which was nice since the weather outside had easily surpassed 100 degrees. 

Cerveza Acasillados on Facebook

Laguer Habanero, by Laak

A habanero lager? Why the heck not! Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

When perusing Laak’s offerings, its Lager Habanero stood out right away. Again, here I thought I may be dealing with another novelty beer, but I was pleasantly mistaken. 

At the first sip, the taste of habanero is barely discernible, and perhaps not even noticeable unless you know it’s there. But as you continue to drink, about one-third of the way through you will start to feel that unmistakable habanero tingle, not that it at any point became overly spicy or overpowering. 

The strongest habanero flavor comes with the last sip, as much of the flavoring concentrates at the bottom of the glass or bottle.

Cerveza Laak on Facebook

Earlier: Beyond Corona: Learn to pair Mexico’s favorite beers with food

The verdict

All and all I was extremely impressed by all five of these beers and am likely to enjoy them again. The one thing I would note is that like almost all Mexican beers, these microbrews were a little lackluster when it came to having a truly full body.  

In fairness, few beer drinkers in Mexico really want a dark or full body, which perhaps explains why beers like Guinness have failed to become widely popular. Again, this likely has to do with the weather. I don’t know about you but I can’t really imagine myself drinking a Doppelbock on Progreso’s Malecón. 

If I had to decide on my favorite of the bunch I would probably say it was the Session IPA, by Casa Pinillos — if for no other reason than I have long craved a great Yucatecan IPA.

That being said, make sure to check out all the links to these great breweries to find out where you can taste them for yourself. There is something for everyone.

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