Like so many expats in Medellin, I was drawn to the city by the allure of Spanish lessons by day and salsa lessons by night. But in the process of finding my feet in a new city, I stumbled across something even better: the best beer in Medellin.
And it’s a secret that has to be shared.
How sweet it was to remember the taste of real beer
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, home to cities like Portland, Oregon, which boasts the most microbreweries of any city in the US, I spent years enjoying craft brew, or, what we affectionately refer to as “The Amber Nectar of the Gods.” (Ok, maybe that’s just me.)
But as any expat who has traveled extensively through Central and South America knows, the craft brew scene is nil to non-existent. In fact, it often seems only one beer exists in this part of the world: the ubiquitous yet humble lager. I get it. It’s drinkable, refreshing, easy to make, and tastes good on a beach, but it leaves your taste buds with much to be desired.
Luckily for you and me, Cervecería Maestre is here to help.
The owners and the process
Mario Hazbun and Laura Mesa opened Cervecería Maestre, Poblado’s first microbrewery, in October 2017. Mario moved to Medellin to pursue business opportunities but quickly fell in love with his girlfriend and business partner, Laura. The pair decided to open Maestre because of their shared passion for craft beer and desire to get out from behind a desk in order to “spread happiness through beer.”
Upon entering Maestre, you will notice a short but sweet list of beers. This is purposeful. Just as a restaurant with a small menu seeks to nail every dish, so too does Mario with his brew. So take your pick, because each beer, be it an amber, IPA or stout, will hit you with phenomenal taste and a clean finish.
Quality of this kind does not happen overnight. Mario, working closely with a brewmaster, has perfected his own style over the past two years, leading him to become one of the premier producers of craft beer in the city.
While his style emphasizes quality over quantity, Mario has been keen to expand his art and will now be able to do so with the purchase of an additional fermenter. The second fermenter allows Mario to produce more high-quality, small-batch beer. Just the way he likes it.
This is good news for us as it means Mario will have added flexibility to make new styles of beer from all over the world – and he is eager to start! Look out for specialty beers around Oktoberfest as well as more traditional styles, such as oatmeal stout.
If a menu expansion with new beers wasn’t enough, Maestre is breaking into the bottling game by offering their signature beer, “Hoppy Ambar,” for retail. Already filling orders around the city, this beer makes a great addition to any party, gathering or futbol match – any occasion made better by beer will be made better by a cold Hoppy Ambar!
With great beer comes great atmosphere
Not to be outdone by the beer, the atmosphere at Maestre is a quality mix of old-world pub and new-age rock. Yes, rock ‘n’ roll.
The best rock music of the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s can be found each night at Maestre. This stands in beautiful contrast to the many bars in Medellin overrun with reggaeton, hip hop and pop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that music – I like it just as much as the next person – but sometimes you need to go a bit against the grain, you know?
And that’s exactly what makes Maestre break out from the pack and into your heart. It is unabashedly a fusion of the passion and style of its owners, without having to try. Confident in itself because it knows exactly what it is: a great product in a great atmosphere that makes for a great experience.
Come check this place out; it deserves the attention.
One last thing: the prices can’t be beat. At a cost of 8,000-10,000 COP ($2.79-3.49) per pint, expect North American or European quality at a fraction of the cost.
Hours and Location
Carrera 40 #10-47, Medellin, Antioquia
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 4pm – 12am
Friday – Saturday, 4pm – 2am
All photos courtesy of Cerveceria Maestre.
This post was written in collaboration with Cerveceria Maestre.
Adam worked in politics for 5 years before leaving his position in public policy with the Washington State Secretary of State’s office to travel the world. His passions include hiking, backpacking, spicy food and eating mangos with his morning coffee. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @nobleadam