There’s nothing like a cold beer by the pool or on the beach when you’re on vacation, even if it’s the kind of mass-market light lager that tastes like 100 others around the world. If you want to step up and drink better though, it’s getting a little easier in the land of Corona and Tecate. On a recent vacation, I checked out the breweries in Puerto Vallarta and liked what I found.
The Mexican craft beer scene is growing fast, but from a very low base that’s going to take time to reach fruition. This is especially true once you get outside the big cities and into the resort areas. Despite a lot of factors working against them, however, breweries in Puerto Vallarta are growing in number and quality.
I recently spent some time in the city and surrounding areas and got to try most of what’s available in that city and Riviera Nayarit vacation zones.
Breweries in Puerto Vallarta – Brewpubs
It wasn’t all that long ago that there was no brewery in Puerto Vallarta where you could sit down at a barstool or table and get a non-corporate draft on tap. Thankfully there are now two breweries and three locations in the Romantic Zone of the city, an easy walk from the malecon along the water or downtown hotels.
Los Muertos Brewing
This is the original Puerto Vallarta brewery, the first you could walk into and get a local craft beer on tap that was brewed on-site in Puerto Vallarta. Los Muertos has a lot of superlatives in its favor besides that first-mover advantage too. They’re the clear favorite as having the best pizza in town, so you know you can get something good to eat with your beer choice. They often have the widest selection, with 13 or 14 beers on tap, and their craft beer prices are some of the most reasonable in Mexico, especially at happy hour.
They’ve commissioned some interesting artwork and sign designs for their main location and have some attractive skull taps (with mustaches) to support the theme. They actually opened on Day of the Dead and their beers have fun names like El Jefeweizen and Agave Maria.
I met up with the American owner, who launched using the proceeds of the sale of a restaurant business in Park City, Utah when he and his wife made Puerto Vallarta their home. I visited a second location of theirs that was just getting ready to open, a much larger space with an expanded restaurant menu and some private dining options. They were able to move all their brewing equipment to the full basement here during the pandemic closure so they’ll be able to expand production at will as needed.
I got to sample a flight with a wide range of what they have on offer, going from a Mexicana Rubia blonde ale to the McSanchez Stout. My favorites were the Revenge IPA and the Anillo del Fuego chili beer. The first was a typical (in a good way) IPA and the latter gets the mix just right, the serrano peppers offset by the sweetness of the lager. All the others were true to their styles and consistently good.
Tastes vary from person to person, so try a few and see what hits the right notes for you. The prices are quite a good value and the pizza is some of the best I’ve had in the country as well. Go to the original location that’s open to the street if it’s not 100 degrees out, or the El Granero Restaurant a few blocks away for air conditioning and a wider food selection.
Munzon Brewing in PV
You can order food at Munzon Brewing if you want, and the menu is surprisingly varied, from a whole day’s caloric intake with pork belly mac and cheese to items geared to vegetarians, like the Chickpea And Quinoa Tacos. But the main attraction is the beer list. Another expat-owned business, Monzon is the favored destination for Puerto Vallarta beer nerds looking for something new and interesting to try.
I ordered a flight to try out their range and was quite happy with my selections. Assume what’s on tap will change by the time you visit, however, so be prepared for something else that’s interesting.
I started out with one called Aguadiente, a lager aged in used mezcal barrels. It was effervescent but hefty in taste, something that was definitely new to my tastebuds. A friend who lives in Puerto Vallarta told me to try the watermelon sour, so I put that on my list. I’m usually not a fan of funky sour beers, but I liked this one better than most and it was refreshing in the PV heat.
Next up was an amber ale with a terrific name: Boton de Emergencia (Emergency Button). It was perfectly balanced and delicious, something I would order every week if I lived there. The Idle Hands hazy IPA was less farmhouse-tasting than I expected, but was typical for the style and quite good from nose to finish. I finished up with a beer clocking in at 7.2% alcohol, which is quite rare in Mexico. (Most of the commercial Mexican beers you’ve heard of are only 4 to 4.5%. It’s a mystery to me how the guys drinking a 40-ounce Victoria on the street corners get so falling down drunk.) That was the Lupita west coast IPA and it was yummy.
Monzon Brewing has some cool merch for sale and I actually picked up one of these t-shirts:
You’ve got to love their motto too. “Why do we brew? To save you from boring beer.”
See more at the official website here. Unlike most business websites in Mexico, it’s actually informative, with (correct) opening hours, the food menu, and what beers are on tap!
Cerveza El Terrible has a location where you can sample their Mexican beers on tap, but it’s in an inconvenient spot for tourists, so I’ve put it further down in the next section. Look for it in stores and bars!
Puerto Vallarta Beer in Cans and Bottles
For the two breweries covered above, you’ll have to visit their locations to buy their beers. You won’t find them in local stores, though of course you can fill up a growler on site to take home.
There are a few other Puerto Vallarta breweries that are more traditional businesses: they have a brewing facility that cranks out bottles distributed to bars, stores, and supermarkets. You won’t find them at the local Oxxo, Extra, or 7-11 convenience stores–those are controlled by the big industrial brewers–but if you search a little further you’ll be rewarded.
One of the easiest to find is Buclas and if you see it on the menu, order it. They only make two styles from their base across the state line in Nayarit, so they’ve had plenty of time to get them right since their launch in 2016. They make a 5.6% pale ale that’s a nice change of pace from Mexico’s two main styles (neither using many hops). Plus they make a wheat beer, also rare here except one you’ll occasionally see from Modelo. This brand shows up at a lot of the higher-end hotels in the region. See more on the Buclas website.
When I was having lunch at a restaurant in Bucarias, I ordered a 7% Kumukite Tropical IPA from the local Puerto Vallarta brewery Los Cuentos (the stories). It just might have been the best bottled beer for that climate that I had the whole trip. Definitely one to seek out. I couldn’t find a website for them, but they also apparently make a lager and a stout.
Cerveza El Terrible is another brewery located in Puerto Vallarta proper. You’ve got to have a lot of confidence in your beer when you call the company “The Terrible.” Thankfully this craft beer brand is not terrible, at least from the two I tried when I saw them on the menu at a hotel’s restaurant. Unfortunately, their website is, with stock photos of phones and computers next to their beer names instead of, well, beer.
They bottle their beer to sell in stores, with the German pilsner being the most popular. I had that and the Magic Ale, both worth ordering again. From what I can tell, they also make a stout and a red ale. Plus a cider, which is not an easy thing to find in Mexico. Their taproom (called Los del Coapi) is in a very local neighborhood well off the tourist route, but the plus side of that is that prices are great. If you’re with someone who doesn’t like beer, most of their cocktails are $4 or less!
You’ll also find some good beers from Guadalajara available in PV, so that’s the fallback when there’s nothing truly local. When I was staying at the lovely Maraica Hotel in San Pancho, I toasted the sunset each night with this Ippolita IPA from Fortuna. The brand you’ll see the most, however, is Minerva, one of the largest craft brewers in Mexico. Their IPA is also quite good.
Tap Rooms Beyond: San Pancho and the Riviera Nayarit
There are a couple of breweries and tap rooms in the popular long-stay surfer areas of Sayulita and San Pancho (San Francisco) in Riviera Nayarit, more than an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.
I haven’t been to Yambak Brew Works in Sayulita yet, and I can’t find a website for them, but they’ve got reviews on Yelp and Untapped that are post-pandemic, plus they have a current Facebook page, so I’m going to assume they’re still open. They serve other drinks on site while pouring their own blonde fruit ale, session IPA, west coast IPA, black IPA, hazy IPA, oatmeal stout, and an 8% double IPA.
Bahia Brew Pub in San Pancho was closed every time I walked by, but I was in town for a few weekdays, so maybe my timing was just off. Or maybe they’re just open during the high season: their last Facebook post is from March. They’re supposedly open six days a week and they have food and live music.
A more reliable craft beer stop is a few blocks away at Cerveceria Artensenal. This small place with outdoor tables doesn’t brew its own beer, but it serves craft beer from kegs via other local producers, including a few I have never seen anywhere else. Everything they serve is from Mexico and they’re picky about the quality. The website isn’t very useful, so see their Facebook page for more info.
I’m sure there are other taprooms around that pour a good selection of craft beer from Jalisco and Nayarit and new places are bound to open up, but this rundown of breweries in Puerto Vallarta and north should keep you busy for a while if you’re in the region on vacation. Salut!
Looking for a place to stay in Puerto Vallarta? Use this map to zoom in or move around for hotels and apartment rentals.