Costa Rica Craft Beer is Here to Stay
There’s nothing quite as delightful as drinking an icy cold beer after a long day. Truth be told, the only thing that can make it more “Pura Vida” is if you’re relaxing on a private beach with your toes in the sand, the waves gently lapping in the background, and you just happen to have one of Costa Rica’s premier craft beers in your hand.
Adventures in Brewing
Brewing the perfectly creamy stout or a tangy IPA is difficult enough under normal conditions. However, when you throw in tropical climates, government hurdles, and a generally untapped and lager-loving public, you’ve got a whole different kind of rodeo.
One of the biggest obstacles for Costa Rica brewers is the lack of beer’s main ingredients, hops and malts. All of the hops must be imported, which more than once has caused major confusion with immigration officers, who mistake the shipments as large, poorly concealed crates of marijuana.
The good news is that with the increase of craft beer in the country, microbrewers are working together to make hops more available and at better cost. From its humble beginnings in 2010 when there was one microbrewer with three different ales to nearly 40 independent breweries and the 85 different craft brews available now, it’s clear that the industry has rallied to bring new flavor to an unfamiliar land.
Tiny Country, Big Flavor
While Imperial lager is typically considered the king of beers in Costa Rica, craft beer is steadily and not-so-quietly creating a name for itself not only here, but on an international scale. Just this year four of Costa Rica’s microbrewers took home five medals at the biggest beer competition in Latin America, the Copa Cervezas de América. Additionally, the Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company, which was Costa Rica’s first microbrewer, was recently named one of the top 100 craft breweries in the world by London’s Future Publishing. Not bad considering Costa Rica’s craft beer market has only been around for about six years.
If you haven’t had a chance to try one of Costa Rica’s many craft ales, then it’s time to get to the nearest beach or bar and indulge yourself. Or if you’re really lucky, you might be able to find a few thousand of your good, similarly-minded friends at a regional beer festival with a bottomless glass. No matter how you discover the local craft beer, cheers to many tasty adventures to come.
Written by Lindsey Vast
(You can see the original article at Costa Pacifica Living magazine, a biannual lifestyle publication in the Southern Zone)