Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I went to an interesting little event in an interesting little place on Sunday. This event said as much as anything I've yet heard about the future of characterful beer in Costa Rica and Central America, more broadly.

In the southeast part of San José, near an area called Los Yoses, is a neat little shop called the Bodega de Chema. Chema is the man who opened it, inspired by the success of Costa Rica's Craft Brewing and already beer-geeky after some time spent in New York state. The best way to describe the Bodega might be part shop and part community education center on the topic of beer with real flavor. He sells beer from CRCB, T-shirts and a couple of books. He also organizes tastings and seminars.

On Sunday he hosted a handful of homebrewers (myself included) to share beers and talk about the future. We've connected over the Internet, but for many of us this was the first time meeting in person. Most of the cerveza casera was made with ingredients acquired with some difficulty from the States. Several employed local ingredients when possible. One of the most encouraging was an extract kit beer in which the brewer had added some of his own farm-grown, home-malted corn and rice. Another really memorable one was a dangerously drinkable porter boosted by Costa Rican honey and laced with a very subtle amount of cinnamon.

There were nine or 10 homebrews in total. All were drinkable, and several were impressive. Naturally, many of the brewers are nurturing dreams of going pro, sooner or later, somehow, someday.

It was event that reminded me of where the U.S. craft beer movement really started. It'll be fun to watch how things continue to develop down here. There will be a couple more events like this in the next few months, and now we have peers to try to please.


  1. Dear Thirsty Pilgrim,

    Thanks for your wonderful word. We were exited to have you at La Bodega last Sunday and it was a real pleasure tasting your beer. At this moment let's keep up the good attitude and build these foundations together so we can achieve our common goal. Making Costa Rica a craft beer destination. Hope to see you again soon,

    La Bodega de Chema

  2. Good read . Similar things are happening in El Salvador. can't wait till we have two operating micro breweries here this year.

  3. Will be looking to find a good beer, or three, when I'm in your beautiful part of the world next month. Thanks for the tidbits that i've been able to construct a list from -- Cheers!