Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Costa Rica's Craft Nets Silver in Chile.

Not bad for a brewery that's barely nine months old.

Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Company is maxing out its brewhouse and selling every drop it makes. The beer is now available in 8o-odd bars and restaurants across the country, with a waiting list of would-be clients who are ready for the brewery to add more capacity (i.e. fermenters). The early success says at least as much about the locals' thirst for something different as it does for the quality of the beers.

About that quality: An international jury in Chile thought highly of it (a jury that included Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker and beer writer Jay Brooks, among others). At the Copa Cervezas de America, CRCB just won a silver for Segua, its hoppy red ale. Congratulations are due to brewmaster C.S. Derrick and the brewery team.

The four gold medal winners: Augustijn Blonde from Belgium's Van Steenberge, the Weizenbier from Brazil's Cervejaria Bamberg, Holland's La Trappe Dubbel, and the Stout from Chile's own Cuello Negro. Augustijn also won the Best Beer award, while Cervejaria Bamberg won Best Brewery.

Besides Van Steenberge, other Belgian breweries to take home medals included Bosteels, St. Bernardus and Brunehaut. Scotland's Brew Dog won a silver for its Hardcore IPA.

Also interesting: The organizers based the beer categories on the standard BJCP guidelines, but they also added a few subcategories: Patagonian Pale, Patagonian Amber, and Patagonian Brown.

The contest's entries and awards were mainly dominated by South American breweries, although a few from elsewhere participated. The organizers billed it as "Latin America's most important beer competition," although this was a first-time event. Regardless, the award for Segua makes a sort of statement for Costa Rica and more broadly for Central America, a region that is generally forgotten amid discussions about craft beer or cerveza artesenal in Latin America.

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