Guest Post by Ramona Hill
Costa Rica’s cool new hobby- craft beer
As a British ex pat, my husband is a card-carrying member of CAMRA—the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale—beer festival regular and home brewer, so he’s been especially interested in the Costa Rica’s rapidly developing cerveza artesanal movement. As his wife, I’ve been sampling some of the new brews right along with him. If you long for a taste of something beyond Costa Rica’s ubiquitous Imperial or an imported Bud, taste test some of these labels.
Best enjoyed cold, IPAs, Belgians and pale ales are especially popular, probably for reasons of climate. Porters, stouts and amber ales taste better at slightly warmer temperatures—as in not ice-cold. These heartier brews are not the “warm beers” the British are so often (and wrongly) accused of drinking.
Among the porters, Treintaycinco’s Mama Candela (7.8%) stands out as a star. Sweet malts and local honey offset the dark brew’s dry bitterness that comes from the brewmaster’s careful blend of hops and organic chocolate. Lora (8%) is a medium-sweet, malty strong Belgian that’s still light on the palate. For a more authentic Costarricense flavor and a taste cas fruit, try Perro Vida’s Diogenes (8%), an imperial style ale or Mango Mae (5%), a German-style wheat beer.
Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company CRBC’s Libertas Tropical Golden Ale (4.7%) carries only a hint of hops. Its golden hues and light, but full-bodied flavor make this pale ale a cool, refreshing choice to beat the heat. Segua Red Ale (5%) gets full marks from RateBeer.com; the Irish ale has a deeper caramel/red coloring because of the generous helping of Cascade hops during brewing, making it a companion with spicier foods. Malacrianza Scottish Ale (6%), with its smoky malt flavor and well-developed head, will appeal to aficionados of Britain’s heavier northern ales.
At Los Sueños, El Galeon, Bamboo and Terrace Lounge carry CRBC in bottles, while The Hook-up has them on tap. You can buy direct from the brewery to enjoy at home. Several restaurants in Jacó, Manuel Antonio and Quepos also carry bottles.
If you enjoy a well-crafted beer, keep your ears open for the 2016 Costa Ballena Craft Beer Festival; it’s just down the road from Los Sueños. In the meantime, do drop in at your local to see what’s on tap.