Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There's Fresh Beer at Arenal, Kegs in the Valle Central, and Plans in El Salvador.

Lots of newsy news today from everybody's favorite craft beer destination, Central America. Dig it.

First: A surprise message this morning from George Lin, the brewer and partner at Volcano Brew. At loooooong last, there is craft beer there. For real. The long-awaited load of malt showed up three weeks ago and George wasted no time. Now on draft at Hotel Tilawa, overlooking scenic Lake Arenal, are a Beach Pale Ale and a fruity Hefeweizen. And by the way, peak windsurfing season is approaching.

I've written some about Volcano Brew, but mostly I've held off. I didn't want to call too much attention to them before they were really, really ready. It appears that moment has come. Congratulations to George and Jean Paul Cazedessus, George's partner and the hotel's owner. That's them in the photo (J.P. on the left, George on the right). They're interesting dudes and Tilawa is a unique place, to say the least, so expect to hear more about them soon.

Second, an update on Costa Rica's Craft Brewing: Co-owner Brandon Nappy tells me that they're having more success than expected at selling draft beer accounts. This is bigger news that you might think, since draft beer is a real rarity here. There will be some education involved, on maintenance, pouring, glassware, and so on. I'm really looking forward to sitting at a couple of these local places and watching this whole foreign process--what, drink beer from a glass?--in action.

Anyway, choosy bars and restaurants dotted around the Central Valley might start serving CRC golden and pale ales on draft as soon as the first week of December. If I can, I'll share info about where exactly to find it when the time comes. So stay tuned, bebedores.

Finally: El Salvador may get its first brewpub early next year. David Falkenstein is a Salvadoran homebrewer who's preparing to go pro. He's brushing up on his craft and working through red tape to launch a new micro in, theoretically, March or April 2011.

The idea is to attach the micro to an existing and successful pub, the name of which I've been asked to keep mum on for now. Interestingly, David married a gal from St. Louis and learns from the brewers at Schlafly and Morgan Street when he's in town. He's also part of a dedicated group of beer geeks in San Salvador. These guys lug home suitcases full of bottles, malt, hops and yeast whenever they travel. Should be some interesting beers coming out of there, eventually.

That's plenty for now.

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