Got Cerveza?

Got Cerveza?

April 3, 2009

Pilsener, Club, Cuzcqueño, Pilsen… blah, blah, blah. Chances are if you’ve been to Ecuador and/or Peru and you have a deeper appreciation for fermented beverages you probably understand my sentiments.  Not that I hold anything against these “goes down like water, drink 10 or 15 and still stand” beers, but they do leave something to be desired. If you’re lucky you may be able to find an Irish Pub style bar that will offer a few European imports, though it does take some searching. Finding anything other than the mass-produced, lackluster national cervezas while in parts of Latin America is about as difficult as finding a grain of salt at the beach. Finding locally produced craft brews is even harder.

Quito, Ecuador, does offer one oasis for the weary and thirsty wanderer, however. It goes by the name of La Santa Espuma, and you can find it tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood at the cross streets of Orellana and Whimper just outside of the Mariscal Sucre district. As a brewpub and restaurant, they offer not only various styles of beer brewed in-house, but also some delectable eats to enjoy while sipping a few cold ones. Their repertoire of cervezas consists of a Scottish, a porter, a golden, a heffeweizen, and a periodic seasonal, and they are all a very welcome break from the “Big 2” of Ecuadorian beers. The establishment itself is very stylishly decorated and provides a warm atmosphere for all, especially seated next to the fireplace.

Microbreweries are just as scarce in Peru as they are in Ecuador. Despite online evidence of their existence, finding Peruvian craft beers in person is another matter all together. While in Cuzco one might stumble upon “Cerveza Perkas”. This is actually quite an interesting and innovative brew. It is made with coca leaf, which is a common cure given to anyone suffering from altitude sickness.  Not only is the flavor undeniably distinct, but the medicinal value is a good excuse for pounding back a couple to help yourself acclimatize to the almost 11,000 feet elevation of Cuzco.

Colombia is starting to get on board of the craft beer bandwagon with great examples such as Bogotá Beer Company and Tres Cordilleras. Bogotá Beer Company is responsible for a classic blonde, a red, a black, a porter, and a few seasonals such as a heiffewiezen and a stout. Tres Cordilleras offers three styles: “La Blanca”, which is similar to a heiffeweizen, “La Mestiza”, which is similar to an American Pale Ale, and “La Mulata”, which is a dark more syrupy malted beverage.

Further south in southern Brazil and Argentina, microbreweries are quite numerous and much more accessible.  Some even produce beers that fall into the “Big Beer” category, having breached the 8.0% alcohol content level. Perhaps with the influence and popularity of craft beers from these two countries and interest coming from North America we’ll see more Cervezarias Artesenalas sprout up on the northern part of South America in the near future.

Regardless though, experiencing local cuisine while abroad should be a cornerstone of one’s travels and adding the search for local beverages will greatly enhance the overall experience. Although sparse in certain regions, a brewery tour of South America is most definitely possible and would make for a fun time. A multi city ticket with the partnering airlines Taca and Lacsa would facilitate such a tour in a convenient and inexpensive manner. Contact an Exito Travel agent for questions, comments, and concerns.


Dalaman April 12, 2009 at 4:50 am

Finally someone who can write a good blog ! I loved your post and will be telling others about it. Subscribing to your RSS feed now. Thanks

Steven April 15, 2009 at 11:39 am

Awesome!!!! I am not a drinker and my friend gave me my first Buzzzz in Santa Espuma which was really wicked scary and cool all at the same time. Great Blog…..

Mr Brew June 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm

It’s ” Cusqueña”, and they are all quite nice.

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