Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:40 pm Post subject: Beer in Argentina
Hey everyone. Longtime reader/lurker. Finally getting around to making a post. What took me so damn long, eh?
I'm Aaron Brown. When in London I can be found at Gambrinus. I wrote about beer for Adventures in Alcohol with a friend who is a sommelier. We writes about wine and I about beer.
Right now I am living an Argentina. Believe it or not, there is a cool beer scene down here. It is obviously not where things are in Canada or the US, but, of course, the people are passionate and friendly and the scene is growing. There are a ton of homebrewers.
My current goal is to write as much as I can about the beer scene here in English. There are some good Spanish blogs, but Adventures in Alcohol is pretty much the only one with decent and current info on where to get good beer in Buenos Aires.
I started this thread for a few reasons.
1) To introduce myself
2) To see if this is the right sub-forum (I'll post elsewhere -- just tell me!)
3) For general questions about beer down here
I'll be posting some articles in separate threads and people can comment and ask questions there, but if you have a general question ask away!!
Joined: 02 Jan 2005 Posts: 544 Location: Downtown TO / Galapagos Islands
Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:04 pm Post subject:
I'm not surprised...there are some surprising pockets of good beer in South America...even Bolivia had some decent micros when I went.
When I went to Antarctica I enjoyed a number of beers down in Ushuaia. Aside from the common Quilmes, there was a micro-brewery...I think based in Ushuaia that produced artisenal beers, which were quite impressive!
Can't remember the brewery...and I never saw their beers when I was in Buenos Aires. If you know them and can find them, give them a shot.
Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:04 pm Post subject: Brewpubs
I am working on an article for my blog and the Argentina Independent that is a "roundup" of the brewpubs worth visiting in Buenos Aires.
I will be publishing interviews with the brewmasters and owners on the blog for something more in depth.
Here is the first one on Cossab, a criminally overlooked brewpub with locations in the Boedo and Urquiza neighbourhoods. Great beer, great prices too. They have bottles here I have not seen in any other bar or store too!
The article "The Beer Down Here" in today's Post talks of craft brewers in the El Bolsón area.
In El Boson, Argentina, the weekly craft market where local beer brewers set up is a major tourist draw. On market days, you can browse a remarkable array of crafts, artisanal jams and preserves and Argentine foods, but spaced between the shopping stalls are the real prizes: Parapapoto, Piltri and Pilker, local beers vended by bottle or plastic cup.
I grab a Piltri, brewed by Laura Garcia, an amiable forty-something who came to El Bolson, a town of around 13,000, to escape the bustle of capital Buenos Aires, some 1,200 kilometres away. Named for the hill she lives on with her husband, Piltri is a robust porter with a hearty aroma of coffee and dark chocolate. It is thick with a potent taste of roast malt that goes down best with a dose of scenery - in this case the rolling Andean foothills.
Garcia tells me she loves living "in the skirt of the mountain living off making beer."
The second-biggest nation in South America has long been known for its wine, but dozens of new breweries across Argentina ensure that travellers and locals alike are hoisting a different kind of bottle these days.
Nearly every part of the country is producing craft beers; from the southern tip of the continent in Tierra del Fuego to the capital, there is no shortage of local brews. Brands such as Berlina and Antares have been gaining popularity overseas while smaller upstarts such as La Loggia, Sixtofer and La Cruz are quality brews available locally.
El Bolson is a small mountain town near the border of Chile. Surrounded by rivers, campsites and craft shops, it's home to about a dozen breweries. It is popular with beer makers because of success of hops crops here. A series of valleys connects the area to the Pacific Ocean through Chile to create an unusually warm climate conducive to their cultivation. Hops - predominantly Cascade hops - from El Bolson supply many of the breweries of the surrounding region.
For most visitors, El Bolson is a side trip taken from San Carlos de Bariloche - commonly known as just Bariloche - a major ski resort town a two-hour drive away (think Argentina's answer to Banff).
Bariloche is one of Argentina's most hedonistic towns. High school students roll into the Andean foothills on trips while backpackers hitchhike along the famed Route 40 through Patagonia, but tourists of all backgrounds enjoy the brew pub district a block south of the main town square.
Brewing is becoming something of a tradition in this region, enough that a kind of beer trail has developed. Just outside of Bariloche, Colonia Suiza boasts the Berlina brewery as well as a campsite whose owners sell their homebrew from their back shed.
In the foothills of the Andes, you can almost taste the atmosphere. In El Bolson, I spent two days swimming in lakes, hiking trails around campsites and visiting local trout farms - the decision of where to have a drink being one of the more strenuous activities of the day.
A good call is El Bolson's eponymous brewpub, which sits on the main avenue of the village. Its sprawling beergarden style yard is packed before the sun even considers coming down. An introductory sample flight points me toward a pint of their Frambuesa - a near perfect blend of two of the region's specialties - beer and fruit (raspberries in this case).
Garcia says brewing here has become a way of life. All of her friends make their own beer. It's also starting to bring some critical acclaim. Garcia's Piltri Rojo recently won honourable mention in the 2011 South Beer Cup in the Red Ale category.
Marcelo Andreu, the brewmaster and owner of Parapapoto Brewery, believes part of the reason breweries are thriving in El Bolson has to do with the fresh Patagonian water. To get to the source, he dug his own seven-metre-deep well.
Apart from the dark, red and blond styles he brews, Andreu tells me he has also experimented with beers made with ñaco - a traditional milled-wheat product prepared by a local Mapuche woman.
But a quality product only makes for half the experience of a good beer - the rest is all atmosphere. Drinking beer in the shadow of the Piltriquitron Mountain in El Bolson, it's difficult to say which I enjoy more.
Otto Tipp, another local brewpub, serves several beers as well as Patagonian lamb and smoked trout.
- El Bolson Cerveceria
- The El Bolson craft market runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and is the best place to find beers from Piltri, Parapapoto and Pilker.
- In Bariloche, South Bar, Juramento, 8400. Brewpubs Konna and Manush are next door and across the square.
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