Mexico City is gigantic. Arriving by plane, I’m always amazed at how far the city sprawls. It’s incredibly impressive from above, but even more so when you’re on the ground, tucked into one of hundreds of neighbourhoods within the city limits. You’re a tiny speck in a huge space, a needle in a haystack. Kind of like craft brewers in Mexico’s corporately dominated beer industry.

Beer in Mexico is a fascinating story in and of itself (and one that I summed up for you in my Beer in Mexico article last year). The country is the world’s top exporter of beer, with a greater market share than Germany and Belgium combined. Let’s take a minute to let that sink in.

The craft beer movement in Mexico has been a formidable counter force to big brewing, as has been the case in so many other countries around the world. But it’s faced a significant battle from some of the world’s largest brewing conglomerates who happen to call Mexico home. Yet every year Mexico’s craft beer industry moves the dial a little more, pushed by risk-it-all brewers and local beer drinkers who are willing to pay more and travel further to support independent breweries.

Craft brewers are popping up all over Mexico from Tijuana to Guadalajara, from Leon to Colima, but the capital brings all these regions together in one place. With a handful of brewpubs, dedicated craft beer bars, and an ever-rising number of restaurants putting independent brewers on the menu, Mexico City is, in my opinion, the best place to experience the range of craft beer in Mexico.

Mexico City Craft Beer - Coyoacan Bottle Shop

Mexico City Craft Beer Guide

Mexico City Breweries:

Escollo

This simple and unadorned brewpub in Roma Norte is located on side-street Querétero. Escollo originated in the brewers’ basement but morphed into a full brewing operation due to near constant growth. The brewery produces a few regulars like a clean and crisp Pilsner, an easy-drinking Blonde, and an APA named Kryptonita but also experiments with a wide variety of styles. In the brewpub, Escollo features a selection of their own beers alongside guest taps like Insurgente from Tijuana. And don’t forget your appetite as the kitchen whips up delicious Mexican classics – think tacos and tlayudas – served up by a friendly staff.

Cerveza la Graciela

Just around the corner from Escollo, Cerveza la Graciela is a must on any Mexico City craft beer crawl. The dark brewpub has a great atmosphere, particularly on evenings and weekends when it’s packed with beer loving locals enjoying the brews and loud music. Grab a seat in the front room and watch the brewing process firsthand. Graciela’s beer styles begin with traditional German roots but then run amok (in a good way!) fusing local ingredients. The styles run the gamut from Gose to Bock, and La Graciela was one of the only craft breweries in Mexico City making fruit beers at the time of my visit. The pub food focused menu offers a good balance of Mexican and American options. It’s the type of spot you can pull out a laptop during the day and gather with a large group of friends at night.

Cerveza Cosaco

Cerveza Cosaco has been around since 2000, long before microbreweries went mainstream. In fact, it’s thought by many to be Mexico’s first craft brewery. The focus at Cerveza Cosaco is on ales, borrowing from the legendary brews of the United Kingdom and Belgium. Mainstay beers include Irish Red Ale Roja, English Porter Negra, and Lager Güera, while the brewery showcases one-offs and experimental brews like a Caribbean Stout, Belgian Wit and a smoky sour, which I would LOVE to taste. Cerveza Cosaco doesn’t have its own tasting room or brewpub, but it’s available on draft around town including many places in Roma and Condesa like La Graciela and Fiebre de Malta.

Crisanta

This posh restaurant slash microbrewery occupies a huge space a stone’s throw from the iconic Plaza de la Republica. Set in a converted garage, the sleek operation feels like restaurant first, brewery second – but it won’t let Mexico City craft beer enthusiasts down. Crisanta offers up their homemade brews such as a Porter and an agave and honey APA (which are also sold in eye catching and trendy white bottles). But what really makes it worth a trip is the significant selection of Mexican craft beers. Crisanta features brewing classes and events in their large, multi-functional space and occasionally has live music.

Cru Cru

Cru Cru has the cool kid branding that wouldn’t be out of place on the west coast or Scandinavia. And it’s a toofer (two-for-one) for Mexico City craft beer enthusiasts with two different spots to get your drink on. Casa Cervecera Cru Cru is the main brewery, which you can see in action in its Roma Norte location. The newly opened spinoff Terraza Cru Cru is a funky beer garden with large murals and twinkling lights in Juarez, where food events and tap takeovers are the norm. The brewery’s mainstays are a Porter and Pale Ale.

Principia

Principia is super new brewpub near the World Trade Centre that’s getting a lot of love. Serving up their own brews like a hazy American Wheat Ale, Session IPA, and Milkshake IPA (the only one I’ve encountered in Mexico City to date) to the masses as well as other Mexican craft beer brands like Insurgente and Colima. The food is spectacular and a reason to come on its own. The highly instagrammable brewpub is a highlight on any self guided Mexico City craft beer tour.

Mexico City Craft Beer - Colima

Mexico City Craft Beer Bars:

El Deposito

This large bar and bottle shop in Roma is a must for any craft beer enthusiast in Mexico City, though there are other locations across town if you can’t make it here. El Deposito has a dozen or so Mexican craft beers on draft, perfect for enjoying at the large central bar watching a local game on the TV or at one of the outdoor tables on a hot day. But what really sets El Deposito apart is the impressive selection of bottles from Mexico and notable breweries around the world. You can opt to drink your newfound beer in the bar or take it with you to enjoy later. There’s also a kitchen in the back that serves pizza.

Biergarten Roma

A trendy biergarten on a roof nestled between two buildings in Roma. The outdoor space has a ton of communal picnic tables that fill up quickly on weekends. It’s overall cool vibes at Biergarten Roma, with a foosball table, lots of greenery, and sparkling lights that make it a magical spot in the evening. With two beers on draft and a dozen or so in bottle (split evenly between Germany and Mexico), it’s a nice spot to enjoy a beer from Baja Brewing or Cucapa. You order your food and drinks from the counters, which are delivered to your table when ready. Though admittedly a cool spot for a beer, the service leaves a lot to be desired and you might be better off grabbing a bite at Mercado Roma next door.

Jardín Chapultepec

This lovely green oasis is just a few blocks from the bustling Chapultepec Park in the heart of Condesa. Prepare to be smitten with this casual biergarten after a day of touring the sites. The large outdoor-only space features picnic tables set within a lush natural setting. Head up to the counter to order cerveza artesanal on draft or in bottle, like Hércules from Querétaro or do a tasting flight. The food is some of the best you’ll find at beer-focused spots in Mexico City, featuring American-inspired fare like hamburgers, pizzas and BBQ with a uniquely Mexican slant. And if you’re in Mexico City on the weekend, don’t miss out on Jardín Chapultepec’s brunch!

Hop the Beer Experience

Though the name suggests it might be a beer tour or hop-on-hop-off bus, Hop the Beer Experience is a indeed a bar, with two locations in Mexico City. The original Hop is a small beloved spot in Juárez with 16 taps while the second location is a modern warehouse-like space in Narvarte, and boasts 30 taps. Whichever you choose, expect an awesome round-up of Mexican craft brewers like Fauna and Tempus alongside international heavyweights like Nøgne and Evil Twin. Pizza is on the menu if you’re hungry – because what goes better with beer than that?

Fiebre de Malta

Fiebre de Malta, which translates to ‘Malt Fever’, offers intrepid beer drinkers a choice of two locations in Mexico City: one in Polanco and the other in Juárez. The beer bar features a diverse selection of beer styles and offers a huge rolodex-like menu with detailed notes for each. It’s a great local spot to stop in for a pint from an obscure Mexican craft brewer like Jack Alebrije Weizen from Cerveceria Jack. The Large menu of pubby food with a Mexican slant is served in the dark gastropub. And when you’re done, grab a growler of local craft beer to take with you.

Craft Society

A modern and minimalist spot featuring art and craft beer side by side in Roma Norte. Beer de barril includes Cervecería Colima, while other local craft brewers like Loba from Guadalajara and many European brands like Karmeliten and Straffe Hendrik are available in bottles. The restaurant and bar is a blank canvas used for art exhibits and events. If you’re hungry, you’re in good hands here –  food isn’t an afterthought or pub grub as in many craft beer bars in Mexico city. The food offerings at the Craft Society are fresh and super delicious. And if you need to get some work done, this is a spot where you won’t feel uncomfortable busting out your laptop

Centenario 107

This large restaurant and bar in Coyoacan boasts that it has beers from all around the world. The extensive beer list at Centenario 107 is great, with a decent offering of regional breweries on tap like Flaco, Primus, and Cosaco and a ton of bottled beers from around the world, mostly European brands like Lindemans and BrewDog. The two level restaurant offers an expansive first floor with lots of bar space and huge booths that are ideal for large groups, while upstairs is bright and airy with a more low-key vibe. A full food menu is available, and I strongly recommend one of their yummy pizzas to munch on while making your way through the beer list.

Craft Beer Mexico City

Mexico City Bottle Shops:

Bazar Coyoacan

Coyoacan is a vibrant district that I often make my base when in Mexico City. Aside from the excellent dining scene and cool bars, Coyoacan boasts a couple of hip artisan markets that are open late like Bazar Coyoacan. Different vendors set up in their own dedicated space showcasing a variety of handmade art, clothing and local products. But my main reason for going is to check out the craft beer and artisanal mezcal stall. There’s always such a great selection of bottles from around Mexico, all beautifully displayed.

The Beer Company

This franchise bottle shop with the occasional tasting room can be found all across Mexico, with 16 locations in Mexico City alone. Hands down, the most extensive beer options can be found at The Beer Company. The most central CDMX locations include Centro Histórico (which features a dozen taps to enjoy on site) and south of Condesa in San Pedro de Los Pinos (with eight taps).

Mexico City Craft Beer Guide
Article by Lauren Barth // Photos by JP Bervoets