Cerveceria Hercules

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Brewer among beer barrels

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Zymurgy Magazine

By Ryan Pachmayer

Luis Gonzalez had the concept for a brewery before he had a location. “I had a very clear idea in my head of the beer that I wanted to make,” says the owner of Cerveceria Hercules, a sprawling brewery located in the city of Santiago de Querétaro.

Gonzalez had visited Europe and was a big fan of the beer. “When you try it fresh overseas, Mexico just didn’t have anything like that at the time,” he says. There was one beer in particular that stood out for him. 

Below the city of Plsen, in the caves of Pilsner Urquell, drinking the namesake at its freshest was eye-opening for Gonzalez. “I was convinced,” he says, “that this was the type of beer we wanted to make.” IPAs were booming in the United States, but when it comes to beer, Mexico has always been about lager. “Everything is pale lager in Mexico,” says Gonzalez. “Pilsner Urquell is basically the next level of pale lager.”

Standing in those caves, drinking the beer right next to the barrels, and watching the open fermentation in the wooden vessels has inspired many brewers, and even more drinkers. Few in either group ever find a way to replicate the experience of that immaculate space. Gonzalez has perhaps come as close as anyone. He’s achieved that with a steadfast commitment to quality, and a truly special location that rivals the ambience of the world’s best beer destinations.

“The place and the brewery were separate ideas, but when they came together, the potential was exponential,” says Gonzalez. His family owned an old textile factory. The buildings had a lot of history within their walls. At one point many years ago, there was a casino in part of the property, and centuries ago it was a mill run by a convent. You can even see remains of the former aqueduct that ran through the property…

Access the whole article in the May/June 2024 Zymurgy magazine.

This article includes the following:

  • HOMEBREW RECIPE: Lágermaiz (Corn Lager)
  • HOMEBREW RECIPE: República (Czech Pale Lager)
  • HOMEBREW RECIPE: Mexvleteren (Belgian Dark Strong Ale)

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