The craft beer scene in México is pretty impressive. Maybe not as impressive as Oregon or Colorado in the U.S. but it is gaining traction and the craft brewers really know how to do a beer festival. I’ll never know if it was a blessing from the Great Gretzky or just dumb luck that we would be passing through Puebla during the Puebla Beer Festival, but since we were there we decided to check it out.
The festival was, well, quite festive. There were carnival rides for the kids (a kid friendly beer fest?), falconry demonstrations and some sort of medieval thing going on, but we weren’t here for any of that, we here to explore the beer.
Our first stop was at the Cervecería Loba booth, who had brought an impressive lineup all the way from Guadalajara. I chose the Alfa India Pale Lager. I had never had an IPL before so had no idea what to expect nor anything to compare it with, but I found this to be crisp with a hint of citrus and a great way to kick of the afternoon. This particular beer was a 2015 Gold medal winner at the Copa Cervezas de America in Santiago Chile. Kudos for the international recognition.
While wandering around the festival grounds, I eyeballed a booth with a Scotch Ale. At some point when my glass was empty, I decided to seek it out. The strong scotch ale from Cerveza Karamawi did not disappoint. I like the Scotch Ale style, but generally tend to avoid it. It’s not something I would necessarily purchase a six-pack of but I’m keen to have one at an event such as a beer festival. I think the Puebla based Karamawi brewery really nailed it with this with toasted malt that takes on a maple type sweetness and a smooth body. At 9% ABV, the heaviness isn’t much of a concern as I don’t reckon I’d get bloaty before getting my buzz on.
At some point in the afternoon the staff at the McCarthy’s Irish Pub booth must have recognized that I was an easy mark. They somehow got me in their space and convinced me to try their Irish Stout. I’ve really never been much of a stout fan so it did require a bit of coercion, but eventually I gave in. It was actually quite nice, but the price point was a bit excessive in my opinion. I guess they did have to work harder to get me to drink it so perhaps the price reflects that. They’re also a huge sponsor of this event so I guess it all works out.
Next up was the Ka-Boom IPA from the Onomatopoeia brewery. I am an IPA fan and I really enjoyed this one, plus I’m a huge sucker for clever marketing. Great beer, great marketing for a winning combination.
As much as one might hope to love everything about a beer fest, the beers can’t all be fantastic, or at least they weren’t in my opinion. The Artemisa IPA was a bit disappointing. Not bad by any means but I had been spoiled by so many winners that I just couldn’t get excited about this one. Had I ordered it at a bar or restaurant I’m sure I would have finished it. At the beer fest, with so many great beers, I wasn’t going to waste time and stomach space on something that I wasn’t thrilled with.
I don’t think that beer fests are for drinking beers that you already know and love, but rather for finding new beers to love. That said, I did finish off the afternoon with a familiar favorite, the IPA from La Bru which I had first experienced at The Beer Company in San Miguel de Allende. This was the clear winner in my book and if you’re ever looking for great beer in México and like me you’re a fan of crisp and hoppy IPA s you should definitely seek this one out.
To all the cervecerías that were in attendance, thank you so much for giving me a chance to sample your offerings. To those I missed, sorry, maybe next time. It seems likely that we’ll be back in México at some point.
Would you like to have drinks with us? Do you know any great drinking establishments that we should check out along (or even off) the Pan-American Highway (we love quirky)? Would you like us to review your bar or a particular alcoholic or caffeinated beverage? Do you know of a beer fest or other drinking themed event along the route? If you answer yes to any of the above, Contact us!