Thirsty traveler’s rejoice! The craft beer scene in Colombia is booming. For example, Colombia’s biggest microbrewery, Bogota Beer Company, got a lot bigger earlier this year when it was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev. However, there are still plenty of truly independent, up and coming craft breweries in Colombia, including four in Medellin that have small brew pubs and offer microbrewery beer tours and tastings. Here’s where to drink craft beer in Medellin, just four more reasons why we love Medellin.
Where to drink craft beer in Medellin
Cerveza Premium Apóstol
The folks behind Cerveza Premium Apóstol, which opened for business in 2009, are serious about beer. Very, very serious. The brewery produces 106,000 gallons of beer per year and their weekly brewery tour not only explains the basics of how beer is made but the guided tasting which follows each tour provides the basics of how to appreciate, drink and even pour your beer.
During the post tour tasting, each of Apóstol’s German style beers, which are made by a brew master who trained in the US, are introduced and explained including color, ingredients, flavors, optimal serving temperature and even which type of beer mug or glass will bring out each beer’s unique fragrances and flavors. You will leave feeling smarter about beer.
Do it: The three hour brewery tour and tasting at Apóstol is offered every Thursday starting at 6:30 pm on the dot (20,000 COP/about US$6.50 including the tour and the tasting, Spanish only, though English language tours are available for groups of 20 or more). Reservations highly recommended.
The 3 Cordilleras brewery is named after the three chains (cordilleras in Spanish) of the Andes which run through Colombia. The brewery started production in 2008 and currently makes five beers including an amber ale called Mulata, a wheat beer called Blanca, an IPA called Mestiza (Karen’s favorite), a dark beer called Negra and a Rose beer infused with fruit.
After touring the downstairs brewery, outfitted with equipment bought from a brewery in Portland, Oregon, guests go upstairs to a loft bar to drink some beer and listen to live music. It feels like a college party, only with better beer.
Do it: Brewery tours are offered every Thursday from 5:30 to 9:00 (20,000 COP/about US$6.50, including three beers or 15,000 COP/about US$5 for designated drivers who aren’t drinking). Reservations recommended.
Three friends like drinking beer. In 2011 three friends decide to make some beer. In 2013 three friends open a brew bar called Cervecería Libre. The owners called their place Cervecería Libre because they believe people deserve freedom of choice and they deliver it. With 12 beers on tap and 19 beers in total, all of them Colombian microbrews, Cervecería Libre’s bar is the place to go for the best selection of Colombian craft beer.
Cervecería Libre itself makes and pours four beers including Libre IPA, Libre Passion (which is brewed with a passionfruit-like bomb of deliciousness called maracuya), a Stout and a brown ale called Libre Avellana. The place attracts a young crowd with reasonable prices of 5,000 to 6,000 COP per beer (about US$2) per beer, late hours and good music (Nirvana, Primus, etc.).
Do it: Basic brewery tours are available at Cerveceria Libre upon request. The Cervecería Libre beer bar is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 pm to midnight, Friday from 5 pm to 2 am and Saturday from 6 pm to 2 am. Cash only.
Hellriegel Beer Company
The newest brew pub in Medellin is Hellriegel Beer Company which is named after German/Venezuelan owner and beer maker Stefan Hellriegel, a self-taught brew master who produces five beers.
Hellreigel’s Silletera beer is an American pale ale named after the men and women who carry traditional loads of flowers during the city’s famous annual Flower Festival. His Carriel Irish red ale pays homage to an elaborate bag which is traditionally carried by Paisa men (locals proudly call themselves Paisas). Luna Nueva is a stout,Verdolaga is a naturally green ale which celebrates the colors of beloved local soccer team Atlético Nacional and Ponderosa is an Irish Red Ale.
Do it: Hellreigel does not offer a brewery tour but you can sign up for a day-long brewing course (US$89) and the brew pub is open daily.
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