What’s Biercito’s story?
My wife Adelina and I, Alex, are the people behind Biercito. Like us, the name is a German-Mexican fusion made up from the the German “Bier” and the Mexican universal “-cito” ending, translating into something like “small tasty beer”. My wife leads two successful boutique hotels in Puerto Escondido – Villa Lili and Quinta Lili – and I’m a researcher in lasers and fiber optics, mainly working in Europe.
Being German I like drinking good beer – and I just couldn’t find one around here! Mexican lagers are nice for a while, but they get boring and monotonous. So I decided to make my own beer with more body and interesting flavours, first for myself and the guests of our hotels. But the word spread around town and so more and more places started selling our beer and we are steadily expanding our brewing capacity.
We’re still a nano brewery with a two-barrel system, but we like it that way and are very proud to be now in our fourth year of business. Currently we’re producing four permanent styles: Escondida Blonde Ale, our Mexican Pale Ale, La Alemana Hefeweizen, and the Oaxaca de Noche Stout.
What was your gateway into craft beer?
Actually I was more of a wine snob before I started being interested in craft beer. I lived in South Africa for a while, in the center of the winelands in Stellenbosch, and was spoiled with hundreds of fantastic wineries all around me. Moving to the Oaxacan coast I couldn’t find the same quality anymore, but craft beer actually offers more flavour and aroma components than wine. So while it was out of the question to start my own winery, a craft beer brewery sounded more realistic. Inspired by the flourishing South African craft beer scene, which started around the same time, we’re now exploring the possibilities that malt, hops and yeast give us at Biercito.
Why Puerto Escondido?
Brewing beer in paradise – what could possibly be better? Puerto really is a paradise on the Pacific coast with a warm climate all year, an ocean full of life with thousands of dolphins and providing fresh tasty fish every day, and amazing nature in the lagoons and mountains around us. It has kept its charm as a small fishing village despite the tourism, and for me is the perfect setting not only for a brewery, but as a place for living well.
What’s the biggest challenge of brewing on the Oaxacan Coast?
Not a lot of people a crazy enough to set up a brewery in tropical climate – even in winter our temperature never drops below 28 degrees celsius during the day. We’re not fighting it and developed special brewing and fermentation techniques adapted to our climate, which also minimise water and electricity usage – both 0f which are scarce here. Together with the slightly salty local water we use, this makes our beers a bit different to beers brewed in other places. They have a more intense aroma profile, contain some “umami” notes mixed with fruity and exotic flavours. We’re trying to brew beer that proudly represents its birthplace, which would be called “terroir” in wine terms. On the other hand, our climate requires obsessive hygiene as it is the perfect breeding temperature for beer-spoiling bacteria.