Tag Archives: cerveza

Beers in El Bolsón

This is part two on our foray into the micro breweries in Argentina's Lakes District. You can read part one here.

El Bolsón is a great spot about two hours south of Bariloche. Nestled in a valley that runs north to south, it is famous for its mountains and craft market.

The Lay of the Land

As the hops are locally grown we expected to find a few breweries humming away and we weren't disappointed. By our count there are seven, but we suspect there might be a couple more:

  1. Araucana**
  2. El Bolsón*
  3. El Dragon Verde**
  4. Otto Tipp*
  5. Parapapoto*
  6. Pittri
  7. Rupestre

Those I marked with a * are covered in this post. The breweries marked with a ** I tried in a bottle and are not covered here in detail. The rest we didn't get to as we were only there for the weekend. Please feel free to share your experience if you try them and I will duly update this post (or link to your review).

We should also note that nearby Lago Pueblo also has a few beers to boast about. While we didn't go there we did try Pilker, which was for sale at the market. This is also covered below.

The market is best visited on a Saturday and can be found in the central plaza. The craftsmanship is the best we have seen in South America.

Available at the Market

Both Cerveza Parapapoto and Pilker were for sale at the market when we swung through. To my joy both had a range available on tap, which is awesome.

Parapapoto

Parapapoto are keen brewers. The thirsty tourist is lucky to choose from an I.P.A., Pilsen, Weizen and a Stout. I chose the Weizen as had not yet seen it for sale. It was very fruity and full flavoured. In fact, you can almost see the fruit in the photo above. Those keen to try it should be warned though: mine came with a lot of sediment, which caused the beer to go bitter on the tongue. Don't expect to drink the whole thing if you order a pint.

Pilker

The staff at the tourism office reckon that a few brews are available in Lago Pueblo. We didn't have time to get there but apparently it is worth a day trip (it is at the end of the river in the photo below).

On the day, only a stout was available. By this point I had noticed that almost everyone made a stout, which is understandable given the climate. I tend to avoid heavy beers but when in Rome…

This one surprised me. It looks like a stout but tastes like an ale. A fresh alternative to a coffee or chocolate heavy version, easy to drink.

Apunto Restaurant

Affiliated with the Otto Tipp brewery, Apunto Restaurant is a classy affair that provides good food and live music. It can be found on Isla Malvinas, near the intersection with General Roca.

Five beers are available on tap: Negra Fuerte (strong stout), Dorada Fuerte (strong lager), Gringa (pilsen), Mestica (red ale) and a seasonal fruit beer. I went with the stout, and yes, it was strong! Came at me from several angles – not too bitter with balanced coffee, malt and chocolate flavours. Quite good.

A very dark beer.

Since we weren't going further afield that night I also ordered the fruit beer, which on the menu is called Con Frambuesa (with fruit). This version was a raspberry lager and it tasted very much like fermented raspberries. Very nice, Saskia also enjoyed.

A very pink beer.

El Bolsón Pub

Anyone passing through El Bolsón must make a pilgrimage to the brewery of the same name, which can be found 2 kms north from town. They make a huge range of beers and you can camp there. Crazy.

We were out of luck though, as it was closed for winter, so we opted for choice number two: their pub in town. Apparently this is not as good and I can believe it. The pub was fairly basic, just wooden tables and benches with an outdoor beer garden. Might be better in summer. Can be found on Avenida San Martin, near the junction with Pellegrini.

We were able to choose from a Pale Ale, Red Ale, Weizen, Stout, Smoked Stout, Winter Stout, three fruit beers (black current, cherry and raspberry), Chili Beer and a Honey Beer. You can see why they provide camping at the brewery.

I went with the Winter Stout, again because stouts seem popular here. I expected something heavy with a hint of charcoal but found that it was sweet, easy to drink and refreshing. I would go so far as to say it was my pick of the stouts. We also tried the Pale Ale and the Weizen, which were good. Would recommend the degustation.

Bonus Points: Araucana and El Dragon Verde

As mentioned at the beginning, these beers were bought from the supermarket but Araucana can be found on tap in town. Araucana makes a Bock, Weizen Dunkel, Weizen and a Pale Ale. Their bottles are fairly hefty and easy to recognise. I think I tried the Weizen but didn't take notes. El Dragon Verde make a Stout, an Extra Strong Stout, a Golden Ale and a Chili Beer (Rojiza). I tried the Chili Beer and enjoyed it. It was strong and woke me up, but very drinkable. Let me know if you find where it can be served on tap.

And so ends our beer bonanza! Thanks for reading, I hope this is helpful for anyone planning a trip to the Lakes District. We had a great time uncovering the many beers hidden in Bariloche and El Bolsón. To my knowledge no tour companies offer trips to the breweries, which is a shame, but on the upside that means there's much to discover. Get into it!

Note: most beers were labelled in Spanish. I found that the word 'Rubia' was applied to lagers and pale ales. Unfortunately I discovered this late in the game and am not sure whether I have incorrectly described a beer as a Pale Ale. Welcome any corrections.


 

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Beers in Bariloche

This one is for the beer lovers.

Turns out Patagonia is the home of craft beer in Argentina. The cause is El Bolsón, which is similar to Nelson, NZ, in that they grow mighty fine hops near a town filled with hippies. When we planned our trip to Bariloche I had hoped to discover tasty local brews and I wasn’t let down. In fact, I was amazed at the number of micro breweries up to their eyeballs in amber goodness.

This is a two part post dedicated to the beers we uncovered in Bariloche and El Bolsón, which can be found in Argentina’s Lakes District, Northern Patagonia. Thing is, not only do these towns host great brews in an amazing setting, they have great pubs and restaurants too. So, these posts will cover both the beers we tried and where we drank them. The sole criterion for venue selection was whether local craft beer was served on tap.

Like a Kid in a Toy Store

So how many craft breweries are there in Bariloche? Well, after talking to locals and the ladies down at the tourism office we established that there are at least eleven. At least. The issue is no-one really knows, hence this post. But I can share the following:

  1. Bachmann*
  2. Berlina**
  3. Blest
  4. Colonia Suiza
  5. Gilbert*
  6. Konna*
  7. Lowther
  8. La Cruz*
  9. Manush*
  10. Tres Monks
  11. Windmill

Those I marked with a * are covered in this post. The brewery marked with a ** I tried in a bottle and is not covered here in detail. The rest we didn’t get to, reason being that the ones we did try can be found within three blocks of the city centre (we stayed at Hostel 41 Below). The rest require a bit of time on the outskirts of town, which alas we did not have, so please feel free to share your experience if you get there and I will duly update this post (or link to your review).

Konna Bar

Rightio. Konna Bar was first on the list and can be found on Juramento 73. It is a cozy, easy going pub with good beats. It seems to be poplular with the locals, always a good sign. Konna is a dedicated bar serving its name sake, Konna Beer, and we highly recommend a visit.

Clockwise: pub entrance: the Kolsch beer label; Kolsch half pint.

Konna make an India Pale Ale (I.P.A.), Kölsch and a Porter, all of which you can buy on tap. We tried the Kölsch. Its a delicious, cloudy beer with a slightly sweet, lingering aftertaste. I sampled the other two and, while good, personally preferred the Kölsch.

Los Vikingos Pub

Ahh yes, The Viking Pub. As you would expect, it has a bit of mongrel in it. But, paradoxically, it has quality beer on tap. Figure that out. Can be found about 15 metres from Konna Bar, corner Juramento and 20 de Febrero.

Clockwise: pub entrance; toilet door; beer brands on tap.

La Cruz

First up was La Cruz, a local favourite, although this may change. We heard that it had been sold to Quilmes, Argentina’s mainstream brewery, and as with Little Creatures in Fremantle, there are fears that the quality will slide.

Only two beers were on tap at the pub, but La Cruz produce seven types: English Pale Ale, I.P.A., Brown Ale, Working Man Porter, Barley Wine, Scotch Roble and an I.P.A. Double Hop. The Pale Ale was the choice of the day, as recommended by the barman (who didn’t look like a viking). The beer was sharp and tart with a light amber colouring. Despite the tartness we found that it was still smooth and refreshing. Recommended.

Bachmann

Having tried a Pale Ale we went with a Red Ale, or Roja, from Bachmann. This was fairly rich in flavour, with a delicious, slightly smokey taste. The ale is dark amber in colour, which goes with the flavour. Enjoyed.

If you scout around you will also find a Bachmann Stout, Fruit Beer (probably rasperry) and a Pale Ale.

As we were sipping the suds a fella approached us at the bar. He was an Argentine from Missiones (think Iguazu Falls) and he was hoping to fund his beer through magic tricks. His first attempt went well, somehow managed to undo a knotted piece of rope with his tongue. His next trick not so much; the old pull a ring through string trick ‘came undone’ when Saskia pulled the ring too hard and revealed the gap in the steel. The look on the magicians face was priceless. Good times.

Note that both La Cruz and Bachmann have their own pubs in town. Bachmann is a few blocks east however La Cruz is several suburbs west. You can get to La Cruz by bus but still need to walk a few blocks. Ask at the Tourism Office for directions to both.

Manush Cervecería and Gastropub

Recommended by Leo, our hostel host, Manush is the cool kid on the block. Sitting on the corner of Morales and A.M. Elflein, Manush provides seven brews on tap: Milk Stout, Stout, Irish Cream Ale, Honey Beer, I.P.A, Kölsch and a Pale Ale. The beers are brewed 15 blocks away by the bartender’s brother. So, it is local.

We really liked Manush. It has an upbeat atmosphere and a slick interior design. Think of a modern log cabin. The menu is exceptional and you can order a sample of all seven beers, which we recommend. Dan, our comrade in arms and food fiend, ordered the tiramisu with milk stout and the chocolate brownie and cheesecake with Patagonian ice cream (the famous El Bólson Jauja, no less). We can confirm that they were delicious!

Although we tried all the beers, we did order a half pint of the Irish Cream Ale. Not surprisingly it was very creamy, with a slight sting of ale. Tasty.

Gilbert Restaurant

Located on A.M. Elflein, just along from Manush, the Gilbert Restaurant offers three brews from the Gilbert brewery: Pale Ale, Red Ale and a Stout (or Rubia, Roja y Negro). We weren’t too excited by the beer or the restaurant.

Note that the two for one deal is per person. You can’t share between two people.

We went with the Pale Ale. It has a strong flavour to it, honey coloured with a slightly bitter finish. Probably the least favoured of the brews we sampled, but of course this is subjective. The restaurant offers the usual Argentine fair, could do more to distinguish itself. Swing by for the happy hour and then move on.

Honourable Mentions

There are two other pubs nearby that are worth a look in, even though the beer is not local. Antares and Warsteiner both have national coverage and are a good mainstream alternative to Quilmes. Their dedicated restaurants in Bariloche are pretty good, but note that only Antares offers a range of craft beers (all of which are made by Antares). Both venues are within a stones throw of Manush.

Antares Restaurant

One of a chain of upmarket hang outs, the Antares Restaurant is polished with a lively atmosphere and good food. They provide a standard set of seven craft beers as well as up to two one-off brews. When we visited the special brews were an I.P.A. (a collaboration with Odell Brewing Co., Colorado) and a Belgian Strong Ale.

At 7.0% the I.P.A. is stronger than your average beer. Surprisingly the flavour is more similar to a pale ale, with a sweet aftertaste. I (Mark) enjoyed it, and I am not a fan of I.P.A.s. The Belgian was also good, light, sweet and very tasty. In fact, about what you would expect from a Belgian beer. Get into both of them if you are in town.

Warsteiner Restaurant

Proof of Argentina’s German migrants, Warsteiner provides a tasty mainstay that is easy to drink a lot of. Think of a German lager and you’d be close. The restaurant is a very deutsch brewhouse with a touch of ski lodge. Unfortunately we didn’t look at the menu so cannot comment on that (we did enjoy the beer though).

Dan jumped behind the bar to take this. Cheeky.

And thus ends our coverage of Bariloche. My thanks to Dan and Saskia for the photographs and for indulging in my crazy ideas.

Bariloche is spoilt with stunning scenery.


Cerveza

Craft beers are alive and well in Argentina. We spent our afternoon relaxing at La Vineria in El Chalten (Av Lago Del Desierto 265). This bar specialises in local wines and craft beers, with advice in English for the curious. We received good advice on local beers and wine, as well as which soccer teams to support. A great spot and a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Salud!

There are three breweries in El Chalten alone, which only has a population of 1,500 locals in Summer. We discovered one last night and spent the evening enjoying their brews! (La Cerveceria, Av San Martin 564).

A selection of wheat beer, lager and Belgian with two empanadas as a snack.

 


Dos Cerveza

Made it safely to Chile on Wednesday afternoon. Highlight so far: rocking into a bar and saying “Dos cervesas por favor.” Have also sampled a Pisco Sour, delicious.

Arrived late after flight delayed so slight hitch in plans. Immediately hit the sack for some catch up sleep. We stayed at La Casa Roja, an old wooden mansion converted to a hostel by an Australian couple. It looked fantastic, several courtyards, a pool, two bars and a restaurant. Bueno!

Now in Puerto Montt after an over night trip in a bus. Both very tired, have not had a full nights sleep for awhile. Hoping to take it easy today before catching the Navimag ferry tomorrow.

Adios.

 

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