As an Englishman/Brit, holidays abroad usually means one of two things dependant on destination. Either an amazing selection of beer in certain parts of Europe or a sea of relatively bland yellow fizz in others, with a similar story further afield for long-haul destinations. As a seasoned beer traveller, very early on in the planning stages for our “non-beer” holiday, I always try and do a bit of digging as to what is in the area, or at least a short travelling distance in the hope we can escape for a little “exploration”. This time around we dropped on a really good deal for Mexico, a little place called Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast. All very last-minute, so with little expectation I tapped the destination into Google, fearing the worst but getting a most welcome surprise when staring back at me was “Los Muertos Brewing, Puerto Vallarta’s first Brewpub”. Digging deeper all the signs looked good, leaving getting there as being the only hurdle as it showed as being quite a distance away from our resort, some daft sod had plonked an airport right in the way dammit..
Once on the ground we found that there was a regular bus service into town which was really cheap, but as our journey required a couple of changes and speaking little of the lingo we took the cowards way out and grabbed a cab. Despite being close on a 40 minute journey though, the cost was a reasonable 270 Pesos or roughly £12.50 which is well worth it, especially as we had no real clue as to where we were going.
Arriving at lunchtime we grabbed a table by one of the large open arches of the cantina style bar, still relatively quiet apart from a few folks eating and watching the early football world cup game on one of the many TV screens dotted around, sitting awhile to take in our surroundings before making a beer choice.
First impressions, it sort of reminded me a little of a Brewdog style bar, not identical, but with that gritty modern-metallic feel, although clearly with a Mexican tint and a much more almost alfresco-esque twist. The impressively shiny but nonetheless imposing brew-plant drawing the eye, a stark reminder that this is a place of work as well as pleasure. I like it, it’s the sort of place I’d like to own, functional, fun, a happy place to enjoy a beverage or two.
The menu too is a welcome sight, 7 beers*, all brewed on-site, ranging from blonde though hefenweisse styles, into IPA’s and Ambers, with tantalising chilli beers and stouts for the more adventurous in the Mexican heat. Food to match, pizza, fantastic sounding sandwiches, chicken and more, with prices being exceptionally reasonable. All beers were 45 Pesos for around a pint (probably 500ml or the US/Mexican equivalent measure 16oz?) regardless of strength and style, this equating to around £2 at current exchange rates. Or maybe try the most enormous slice of pizza, salad and side, with a pint for an amazing value 60 Pesos.
*seven beers on at the time of our visit, this seems typical but I believe some of the range rotates
We started the beer selection in suitable fashion with a couple of thirst quenchers after our journey, the wife choosing Mexicana Rubia Blonde and myself opting for El Jefeweizen, a summer wheat beer. Both did their job and were pleasant enough, although I was slightly disappointed with the wheat, it being almost clear and lacking in the expected flavours or claimed coriander and orange, not bad, but lacking something.
Next up was Agave Maria Amber and Anillo de Fuego Chilli beer, the former being a typical American amber in style and very well executed, a welcome change to have a beer at last with some depth of flavour after the hotel offerings. Not massively hoppy, but enough to be pleasantly drinkable.
The chilli beer was also pretty good with quite a bit of chilli heat, although a pint was quite a challenge. It would probably make an excellent base for “Cielo Rojo” (Red Sky) as suggested in the commercial description. This is a local sort of beer cocktail as I believe, a variation of which I saw lots of people order back at our hotel. Made up of cerveza/beer, tomato juice, Worcester and Tabasco sauce and lime juice, served in a salt edged glass. I didn’t try one personally but Mrs H sampled one and quite enjoyed it (although not ordering another).
Revenge Pale Ale came next, the moment I’d craved long before walking in the door, hopped with Chinook, Columbus and Cascade, it did not disappoint and supplied the first “hop-burp” experience since leaving the UK. Hiding its 6.1 ABV extremely well it went down far too quickly which was a massive shame as I could really have sunk a few more. Sadly though I had to move on to get through the menu, the large measures not helping matters here.
The intriguing sounding Hop On was our next offering, billed as an American Strong Ale and arriving at the table much darker than I at least expected. In my mind I pictured something akin to a double IPA when in fact it was a really dark ruby glassful with a coffee crema-brown head foaming on top. Rich and malty with a decent hop hit and again something I’d quite happily order again should the chance arise.
Last beer of a really enjoyable afternoon was the McSanchez Stout. Listed as being the Los Muertos version of Guinness Irish Stout which I personally think does it a real disservice as for me, it knocks “the black stuff” into a cocked hat. I was a little wary of drinking an Irish stout on a day where the outside temperatures were in the mid thirties, but this was a real treat, chilled just enough so as not to be soupy, but still letting the delicious roasty flavours shine. Surprisingly my second favourite beer of the day.
More on Los Muertos in a day or two, with a short interview with brewer/owner Conner Watts, but for now, thanks for reading.
The Los Muertos beer menu can be found here, but I’ve listed those we tried below for ease of reference.
Mexicana Rubia Blonde: A light bodied ale that combines the smooth drinkability of traditional Mexican lagers with the bite of a Czech pilsner
El Jefeweizen: A crispy smooth summer wheat beer with just the right amount of cloudiness from a German inspired weisen. Great session beer highlighted with coriander and orange zest.
Agave Maria: A Medium bodied ale, lightly hopped, but full on the palate. Expect nutty flavours coming through in this highly drinkable American style amber.
Anillo de Fuego: Wheat based ale fermented on a bed of diced serrano peppers. This picante twist will definitely put a little pep in your step. Try this with tomato juice or as the base of a Cielo Rojo for a uniquely Vallartan beverage.
Revenge: A knock-you-down pale ale nearly hoppy enough to be considered an IPA by most beer enthusiasts – high gravity and high hops. Starkly distinct from anything you’ve had in Mexico and made for the hop-heavy, IPA crowd.
Hop On: We’re calling it an American Strong Ale which leaves us quite a bit of wiggle room in our interpretation of the style. This malty, hoppy, dark ale will really get your attention. Overall bitterness and coffee like flavours will entertain your senses.
McSanchez: Fancy Guinness with your bangers and mash? This is our version of a fresh pint of the creamy Irish classic.
Lazaro Cardenas 302
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48380
Hours: Mon – Sun, 12pm – 12am
Phone: 01 322 222 0308