It’s tough to find a beer in Mexico City that isn’t produced by one of the country’s two giant beer companies. With few exceptions, restaurants and bars serve the same four or five beers — the only question is whether an establishment will carry FEMSA brands (Sol, Indio, Bohemia) or Modelo (Victoria, Pacifico, Negra Modelo).
That’s changing lately. A Mexican craft beer trend is sweeping the city, with independent, non-monopoly produced brews suddenly popping up in bars and restaurants. Many of these beers are made in Guadalajara, but some are produced in Mexico City. While craft brews have been popular in the United States for a while, this is staggering news for Mexicans and expats. More brews mean we have a choice now. A choice!
Probably the best new craft-beer bar is El Depósito, which opened a few months ago in Condesa. They stock around 140 beers from around the world, including Shiner Bock. I think my heart stopped beating when I saw Shiner’s distinctive yellow bottle — Shiner was the nectar of my 20′s, along with Silk Panties shots at Cosmos in Dallas.
El Depósito also sells Belgian lambics, smoked German Rauchbier and other bottles that are hard to find in Mexico. And they carry eight artisanal Mexican brews, including Cucapá, Poe, Malverde and Minerva.
Crayton and I snagged the last table a few Fridays ago, around 8 p.m. It’s an open, airy place, with shelves of beer and fridges on one side, and a bar on the other. Music videos played on mute on flat screens. Guns’n’Roses “Don’t Cry” swept out of the speakers, launching us into a discussion about the great power ballads.
At the register, I ordered a Cucapá Clasica for me and a Poe for Crayton, both of which are Mexican brews. We munched on popcorn and people-watched. (If you’re hungry, El Depósito also sells burritos.)
The super-hip waitress reminded me of the chola girls who used to intimidate me in junior high — feathered bangs, straight hair, big hoop earrings, heavy black eyeliner. Funny how things change because now I liked her look. Everyone else was in jeans and T-shirts.
We each had two beers and then had to move on to meet a friend for dinner. But I’d definitely go back. It’s a casual place without any of the pretentiousness that sometimes comes with Condesa. Plus it’s great to see a place that supports the independent beer scene in Mexico. If you’re in favor of opening up the Mexican beer market to something other than Victoria or Indio, you must pay them a visit.
You can even pick up a six pack to go — the price is slightly cheaper than drinking it there.
Baja California 375, near Benjamin Franklin
Check them out on Facebook.