In December 2017, I traveled to the Spanish Colonial City of Merida, Mexico. Merida is full of great food, culture, and impressive mansions. But as with anywhere, the local craft beer scene is also a must-explore for me.
La Negrita Cantina
We started at La Negrita Cantina, which has a very enthusiastic fanbase. Actually, we attempted La Negrita twice at varying times of the day. On both occasions, we gave up and left. It was just too crowded, with a 15-20 minute wait for a table. Several tables appeared empty, but we were told they were reserved. Although I guess a 15-20 minute wait isn’t so bad, it was really warm inside, loud, and young. We are in our early 40’s and felt a little self conscious!
I did get a peek at the craft beer offering, which was 7-8 bottles displayed on the bar. It wasn’t a great environment for taking notes, but I recall a couple of stouts, lagers, and red ales. Nothing hoppy. You can order a bucket of 5 craft bottles (mixed or all the same) for about 220 pesos compared to 145 pesos for a bucket of 5 standard beers. But honestly, most folks were drinking drafts (Sol or Dos Equis) or colorful cocktails, both served in huge glasses that resemble a mason jar, but like twice the size. My younger self would’ve loved this place.
After failing at La Negrita, we headed over to Hermana Republica’s Centro location. I am not sure if there are any business ties between Hermana Republica and Cerveza Patito, but HR prominently offers a selection of eight Patito beers on tap. The space they have created is very cool. Obviously an old colonial house which has been stylishly converted. It was a beautiful night, so we sat outside in their courtyard. Sorry for the crappy iPhone photos… I gave my DSLR the night off.
The manager here seemed genuinely pleased with our interest in the Patito beers and after chatting for a bit, he brought over several small samples. We wound up each ordering full pours of the IPA first and then the Vanilla Porter. As with many establishments, complimentary tortillas chips and salsa were served with the drinks.
To be honest, the IPA was pretty mediocre at best. Don’t get me wrong… we still enjoyed it an as alternative to the industriales of the past couple days, but the hops were kinda muted and just lacking brightness in general. The Vanilla Porter was far better and had surprisingly thick body and mouthfeel, clocking in at around 7.5% abv which is high for what you will find in the Yucatan.
Although we didn’t order any food, the menu looked interesting and quite varied. Note that they also sell samplers and growlers fills. I enjoyed Hermana Reblica. It was nice to sit down in a peaceful, upscale atmosphere and the selection was large. Tomorrow, we’ll weigh HR against their latest competition, La Linda Brewpub.