Beer Bank brings microbrews to Puerto Vallarta

There is a new cervecería in Puerto Vallarta, the aptly named Beer Bank. More than ninety-five different microbrews are stocked, including beers from Mexico, as well as Germany, Belgium, Cuba, Japan, the U.S. and other countries with a fine microbrew tradition.

Paulina Castro Garcia, the affable owner and a Puerto Vallarta native, learned to appreciate microbrews when she lived in Querétaro. She told us that most beer in Mexico is produced by two big companies, Modelo and Cuauhtemoc.

“We really don’t have the option to choose among a wide variety of beers style in Mexico, because everywhere you go there’re always the same beers. Once I started to try all these different beer styles of microbrews at bars and restauants in Querétaro, I didn’t like commercial Mexican beer any more. When I went to the Beer Bank in Queretaro I really liked the concept of having beer from all over the world.

“I wanted to see Mexican craft beer available for everyone, and to get people to learn more about the culture of beer. It’s one of the most consumed beverages in the world, but we don’t know anything about it. It has a big story to tell and no one is telling it. So I thought it was a good opportunity to have this concept in Puerto Vallarta.”

By definition, microbrews, sometimes known as craft beers, are beers made in a limited quantity with an emphasis on quality, rather than mass production.

Each bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale, with an alcoholic content of 8.5%, is numbered. In 2010, only 160,000 bottles of this beer were produced for world-wide distribution. Its high alcohol content means it can be cellared.

Another interesting note: India Pale Ale, also containing an alcoholic content of 8.5%, is so named because it required more alcohol to withstand the long ocean voyage to India without spoiling, while it continued to ferment slowly during the journey. British troops appreciated its fruity hop flavor, which must have helped wash down their curries. It mellow dryness also pairs well with Mexican dishes.

The microbrewery business is growing year by year in Mexico, with most of the the production in Baja California. Cervecería de Baja California bottle Cucapá and have an unusually named cerveza, Chupacabras, an American style pale ale named after the infamous creature of Latin American lore that sucks the blood of goats. Hopefully, this beer will not leave you that thirsty, but rather with an appreciation for a malty, smooth beer that pours a frothy head and suggests a floral, hop aroma.

Beer Bank is a rare instance of a cervecería selling a great product, and offering the opportunity to learn the history and qualities of each beer label. Paulina will help you select the best beer to serve with your menu. For us, she recommended a Cucapá Obscura to compliment a spicy Mexican meal and a Floreffe Biere d’Abbaye Prima Melior, with its undertones of coffee, licorice and raisin, to serve with chocolate cake. Other beers include Cuban beers (unavailable in the US, thanks to misguided foreign policy), organic honey beer, and Mexican chile-flavored beer.

Besides the Beer Bank here in Puerto Vallarta, there are three others in Celaya, Tampico and Querétaro. To see a complete list of their inventory, go to www.beerbank.com.mx and select “catalogo”. Beer Bank also sells wholesale, distributing to bars and restaurants.

Beer Bank is located at Avenida México 1293 in Colonia 5 de Deciembre, two blocks north of Leys grocery store, on the bay side of the street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 4:30 – 9:00 p.m. Phone 322-222-9220.

Update: This store has closed. Beer Banks in Mexico are in Celaya, Queretaro and Guadalajara. (April, 2012)


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12 thoughts on “Beer Bank brings microbrews to Puerto Vallarta

    1. I just called their phone number, and got a message that the number is no longer in service. Their web site shows only 3 stores in Mexico — Queretaro, Celaya and Guadalajara. I also went to their Face Book page and left a message, asking if the PV store is still open. It doesn’t look promising, but if I hear back from them, I will let you know.
      Update: Beer Bank replied that the PV store is closed. The Guadalajara Beer Bank would be the closest one. So sorry you will miss this unique store. I hope you find some enjoyable Mexican beers while you are visiting.

      1. Do you know where in PV you can buy mexican craft beers? I read about a place called El Deposito south of the rio in pv (pulpito & ampas via tripadvisor). I’m not sure if its still open though.

    1. It’s all a matter of taste and personal preference, Bob. Here are some excerpts from reviews of Leffe beer:

      … The flavour is well rounded, slightly sweet, slightly spicy … There are hints of vanilla and toffee in this flavour, it’s not too heavy.
      (The Brew Club)

      and another:

      Leffe Blonde is a dry, fruity, lightly spiced beer and is quite full and creamy. It blends strength and subtlety, the bitterness being delicate extending over the whole palette and even to the aftertaste … Designed for real beer lovers…
      (InBev UK)

      Microbrews vary greatly in their taste and are often full-bodied with malt and hops. Their distinct and complex flavors are not for everyone, but appreciated, savored and sought out by many.

  1. Lorin Johnson

    Oregon is famous for it’s microbreweries and vast selections of beers. I pretty much stopped drinking beer except for the occasional in Mexico or a Sinhga with Thai food or a Tsing Tao with Chinese food. We recently had a local micro brew and wine establishment open in Silverton, Seven Brides, and it has re-awakened the beer taste buds in me. The Seven Brides name came from the fathers that know that they have to pay for the seven weddings. They have a great selection of very different beers. It’s easy to find one for any palate.

  2. Vicki in GA

    It is wonderful that so many women own their own businesses.
    I love the idea: selling international brands of beers.

    I do like Pacifico from Mexico. It is one of my favorites but doesn’t taste as good in the USA as it does on a beach in Mexico! Wonder why?

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