The Brew Connoisseurs
Beer might not be the first beverage that comes to mind when someone says “Playa del Carmen,” but the crew at Club de la Cerveza is trying to change that. The craft beer venue, which introduced the drink to the area, serves more than just international stouts and IPAs, though. Come in for a good dose of community and some new beverage recommendations. The crew told us about some of their favorite products and what you should know about beer.
What are some of your favorite beers in the shop right now and why?
In beer we speak about “styles”, so I’ll mention some of my favorites in each style:
- Wendlant Perro del Mar IPA – Cervecería Wendlant – Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
- Jabalí HellesBock – Cercecería Primus – Mexico City
- Calavera Mexican Imperial Stout – Cervecería Calavera – Mexico City
- Duvel – Belgian Strong Ale – Belgium
- Paulaner Weissbier – German weissbier from Munich
Why did you decide to open Club de la Cerveza, and how has the Club evolved over time?
We opened Club de la Cerveza in 2011. It was our dream: we’re passionate about beer, and five years ago you couldn’t find any craft beer around Playa. We built it as a second home. Our customers are like our houseguests—we love offering them a good selection of beers, homemade food, and good music. That’s our concept.
Fortunately, Playa del Carmen’s locals seem to appreciate our efforts and support us as well. That allows us to still be here after five years. Since we opened, our beer selection has increased to over 100 beers (we had only 40 at the beginning) and 4 taps. We now carry local beers such as Akumal, Pescadores and Carmen Beer Co. Club de la Cerveza tapped the first kegs from those breweries. That makes us very proud. J
What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards of running the business?
We focus on quality, so creating the beer selection is very important to us. We have to train our staff to be knowledgeable about beer and be updated about new breweries and styles. Finally, as many of the beers we carry are not brewed in the area, logistics can be a big challenge.
Rewards: Being able to try over 300 beers through our “Exchange Program”—people bring us their favorite beer from their city/ state/ country and we trade it for a Mexican craft beer. The beer community is very friendly, and usually we get the best beers in the area or special editions. We’re very lucky.
What should more people know about beer—those in Playa del Carmen, and those beyond?
We’d like people to be open-minded to trying new textures and flavors. We usually ask them to tell us their preferences:
- color: blond, amber or dark
- flavor: sweet, bitter or balanced
- body/strongness: regular abv or ready for something stronger?
With these simple questions, we’re able to recommend something that we’re pretty sure they’ll like. After that “first craft beer,” we can move on to other styles based on each person’s preferences.
Discuss some of your favorite moments / events that have taken place there.
As I said, the bar is our second home. We’re very happy to host our customers, and many have become very good friends. We really enjoy talking with people, playing music to make them feel comfortable, and recommending a good beer.
Also, we keep the beers we receive through the exchange program and then meet at the bar with other beer fans to share those samples. We keep learning about beer. We very much enjoy those meetings/tastings. They’re the essence of Club de la Cerveza: sharing and enjoying good beer with friends. As Drake’s Brewery (one of our favorites in San Leandro California) says, “The end is beer.”