I am continually perplexed by how a country that produces stunning, affordable wines also has an affinity for the noxious combination of Fernet and Coke.
I mean have you tried this? It tastes toilet water laced with weeds and a drop of black licorice. I literally had to scrape my tongue after a sip of this black death crossed my straw into my mouth.
But the wine…oh the wine. I hope you understand that I’m just not ready to do a full on post about the wine quite yet as we haven’t even been to Mendoza. But I will write the post I have been diligently researching for since we got here. It’s one I’ve put in the most work since we arrived in this country.
The top 5 microbrews in Buenos Aires.
Surely you did not just write off Argentina after tasting the insipid lager known as Quilmes Cristal. Even a foray into their other brews leaves one longing for the just a taste of corporate America’s answer to microbrewed beers such as Budweiser American Ale. There aren’t terrible but there is no reason you need to drink them.
Being a beer lover in Argentina is a like joining a secret club. People seem to really care where their products are coming from and how they are made. It’s not like the US where every annoying beer snob wants to discuss the aroma and origin of the hops so that every time you go to tip your glass you’re interrupted. (That’s me by the way) Oh no, these beer drinkers want to drink. And laugh and enjoy good beer with tasty snacks. It’s so refreshing.
There are around 80 microbreweries in Argentina with 800 distinct brands. No, I haven’t tried them all but I have made an impressive effort. At only .2% of the national market it’s a small industry but has some devoted followers.
Some of the most well known and widely distributed are Antares, Otro Mundo and Barba Rioja but they are by no means easy to find. Discovering one of these beers still creates genuine excitement and will guarantee a return to any grocery store, no matter how far flung. And will be forever referred to as the “Otro Mundo” store by yours truly.
So here are our top WPP picks for top microbreweries in Argentina.
Located in Palermo, Antares Brewpub is a beautifully appointed and reminiscent of our favorites microbreweries in California. Due to their two for one pint happy hour specials, it is one of the few places that is completely packed at 7pm.
We did a beer tasting of the Kolsch, Scotch Ale, Porter, Cream Stout, Honey Beer and Imperial Stout. Hands down the very best beer in this round up is the Scotch Ale.
It has a warm rich aroma with a beautiful dark honey color and a thick creamy head. Finally! An Argentinian beer with a decent head! (Oh stop.) I got a whiff of butterscotch fudge with some loamy peat and the rich yeasty smell of rising bread. It has a creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation and a balanced sour taste with rich roasted notes.
Barba Roja makes really unique and interesting beer including such selections such as a Raspberry Bock, Lemon Beer and Floral Beer. These are really well made beers. Spend a few days drinking Quilmes Cristal and then crack open a 750 ml Barrel Aged Red Ale from Barba Roja. The color on this brew is gorgeous and it gives off a layered toffee and malt aroma. Beautifully balanced with a rich mouthfeel, it keeps some bitterness on the palate with a smoky, rich taste.
This brewery is family owned and operated in the town of Escobar, Argentina which is the flower capital of the country. It is located just over 35 miles north of the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires and the brewery looks to be a wonderful attraction with 5 acres of park-like grounds, a traditional parilla with huge steaks, and nicely appointed cabanas for overnight stays during the summer season.
Weird fact: It’s rumored that some of the last beers legendary beer god Michael Jackson tasted and reviewed are from Barba Roja.
If you visit this brewpub in Recoleta stick to the beer and forget the food. Seriously. The beers we tried were well made and covered the more traditional varieties including a Light Lager, Oktoberfest, Pale Cream Ale, Honey Beer, IPA, and Cream Stout. I wasn’t blown away by any of these brews but I did really enjoy the Honey beer. It pours a lovely warm honey color with a very dense, creamy head and a floral aroma. It has a slightly sweet but still bitter taste with a beautiful warm finish that proves refreshing.
WPB tip: Hit the Buller Pub Happy Hour where you can get pints from 7-9pm when pints are about a $1 cheaper.
Otro Mundo Brewing Company has been brewing high quality beer since 2004 and produces three beers that are relatively easy to find throughout Argentina. I like the strong red ale best with its robust carmely malts and balanced hop finish. I was surprised to find that they use Cascade hops which the Baur household uses often to brew our West Coast style beers.
The other two options are Nut Brown Ale and Golden Ale, both of which are delicious.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and mainly highlights those microbreweries that are most widely distributed.
Any other recommendations out there?