Pulque Renaissance

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two glass of pulque

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Zymurgy Magazine

By David J. Schmidt

The Rebirth of a Traditional Mexican Brew

It was a typically cold, rainy August evening in Mexico City. My fiancee and I walked the colonial-era cobblestone streets of the old city center in search of La Risa, one of the city’s oldest drinking establishments. We were thirsty for a mug of fresh pulque, one of Mexico’s oldest and most traditional brews.

When we walked in the door, we found a no-frills interior. Customers sat on wooden benches and metal stools while employees in T-shirts wiped down the Formica counter. The jukebox blared a hit by Caifanes, a mainstay of rock en espanol from the 1980s and 1990s. “I wish I were alcohol,” the singer cried to the synth-heavy beat, “so that I could evaporate inside of you.”

We ordered two mugs of pulque—a thick, viscous, opaque white liquid—and sat at a metal table next to a motley assortment of customers. Next to us sat a well-groomed man in Spandex shorts holding a bicycle helmet. Across from us sat a group of young hipsters, while a possibly homeless man drank at the far end. We all clinked our glasses. Pulque is an unassuming and unpretentious drink, and it does not judge.

Although this traditional brew teetered on the brink of extinction for years, it is in the midst of a serious comeback.

This article covers topics including:

  • RECIPE: Pulqueza (hybrid agave beer)
  • A Brief History of Pulque
  • The Rise and Fall of the Pulqueria
  • The Pulque Renaissance
  • A Pulque Tour Through Mexico City
  • The Pulquerias of Guadalajara

Access the full article in the March/April 2023 Zymurgy magazine.

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