Name: Reserva Especial
Brewery: Cerveceria Primus (Mexico City, Mexico)
Style: Scottish Ale
Source: El Deposito (Mexico City)
Fun fact: Approximately 0.007% of the beer consumed in Mexico is craft (which is Sweet FA when you consider it’s about 2.5% in NZ), but if you know the right places to go, it feels like a whole lot more.
I didn’t know the right places to go. I had no f***ing clue in fact, and Google wasn’t much help. Thankfully the Twitterverse came to the rescue, and I was put in touch with Rodolfo – head brewer at Primus and part-owner of two craft beer bars in Mexico City.
I met him at one of these - El Deposito, which is a bar and off-licence located on a sunny corner of Condesa.
I kid you not, it had the best range of bottled beer I’ve ever seen in my life. Everything from Fullers to Mikkeller, Brew Dog to Shlenkerla to Rogue. (In fact, the only thing missing was New Zealand beers, but I’ll be emailing Rodolfo with a list of suggestions soon).
There was also a large – surprisingly large – range of Mexican craft beer.
We drank one of Rodolfo’s brews – the Tempus Reserva Especial (that means specical reserve – see how my Spanish is coming along!) – while eating real nachos dipped in a cheese and jalepeno sauce. (If I’m clinically obese by the time I return home in 3 weeks, you’ll know why.)
Rodolfo described it as an IPA crossed with a Scottish Ale, which in theory is my dream beer given that I’m currently torn between big malt and big hops. And it was good – treacley and mouth-coating like a scotch ale, but with gentle fruity hop flavours and a dry, slightly bitter finish – like an English IPA.
After that we moved on to neighbouring Roma, where the corner of Queretaro & Orizaba streets houses a cluster of specialty beer and mezcal outlets/bars. Between here and El Deposito we tried so many Mexican beers I lose count, but a few interesting ones stood out. There was a Macademia Brown Ale that an award-winning homebrewer dropped off to us (they have a yearly homebrewing championship as well as two major beer festivals each year), a beetroot ale, and a really gorgeous beer brewed with jasmine.
I came away impressed, drunk, and lugging a suitcase full of Mexican craft beer which Finn is now lugging around Mexico. I’ve been here four days now and I still haven’t had a Corona – except for one in a ‘Clamato’, which is beer mixed with clams and tomato juice. Big thanks to Rodolfo for introducing me to that, and to Mexico’s exciting craft beer scene. I should never have doubted it!