by rbladmin
Craft beer
July 20, 2022| 886 views

At the time of writing this, Costa Rica, in general, is moving in a good, positive-growth direction. Talking with business owners, I learned that many of them have seen increased profits by comparison to last year, and in some cases, even better than pre-pandemic times. All in all, wonderful news!

That being said, let’s narrow down the topic to, of course, craft beer and what’s going on with it. For starters, in our area alone we’ve seen new breweries pop up, and existing ones go through great changes and upgrades- clearly the market is in demand for great beer! 

The styles that are coming out of these breweries are, admittedly, in general, pretty safe. Light lagers, hoppy, but not too hoppy ales, with a focus on consistency. But one thing I am seeing that is starting to pick up, and one thing that I hope sticks around, is experimentation. 

Experimentation. This word makes every commercial brewer’s inner child perk up and smile. We all get giddy in the most nerdy kind of way. 

While brewing consistently good beers that sell is the business model, we all long for the days of homebrewing when we got radically experimental, when we produced some one of a kind brews, truly nuanced, truly unique- liquid Mozart type deliciousness. 

Here in Costa Rica I have seen some breweries, albeit little by little, throw caution to the wind (and $$$ at ingredients) in hopes of coming up with the next great flavor- or at the very least, recuperating some of the money back in the event the recipe doesn’t pan out exactly as designed. And all of these brewers who are getting experimental (a.k.a. ingredient-weird) had one thing in common- each and every one has paid homage to the diverse and fertile agriculture of Costa Rica; to the mother-earth who bore such wonderful produce.

One of the most tantilizingly-fun aspects of living here (let alone brewing) is that almost anywhere you go, you can find random fruit trees, edible veggies just growing like weeds, and exotic plants that you probably didn’t even know existed. And the memo must have gone out to these brewers mentioned above because I am seeing them take advantage of the harvests – I am seeing them creatively use these ripe and bountiful fruits and veggies in the funnest of ways- the tart acidity of star fruit and cas, the deep and bold colors of pitaya, the spices of the different jalapeno peppers- so many, and so much good stuff to utilize!

So taking this conversation full circle, I asked where is craft beer in Costa Rica heading? To the native and seasonal fruits and veggies, that’s where! While it might be a trend, it could very well be a game changer. If you’ve driven, even for 30 mins in the country, you know there’s no shortage of fruit and veggie stands, nor is there a shortage of the produce itself filling up those stands- watermelons and mangos stacked high, bushels of bananas hanging from the line. And while the larger batches of beer produced do call for larger quantities of fruit to be added, I believe the results of a balanced beer with fresh fruit additions can be a game changer. At the very least, they can be a semi-sustainable new approach to brewing.

That being said, let’s hear from you. For the craft beer fans out there, have you tried a fruit-ed beers? What’s your favorite? For those Costa Rican brewers, have you made a fruit-packed beer? How was it received?