Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adventure as an Excuse for Beercation.

So it's been a while since we checked in with Volcano Brewing up near Tilarán. That's on the northwest side of Lake Arenal, if you want to unfold the map and have a look.

Sly folk looking to work crafty beer into their honeymoons or adventure travel would do well to mark it down. Two of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica are Volcán Arenal -- a proper, active cone rather than a big smoky hole in the ground -- and the laid-back beaches of Guanacaste, on the Pacific Coast. The smart way to get from one to the other is to rent a car and drive the northern route around Lake Arenal. Conveniently, that takes a thirsty gentleperson right by Volcano Brewing and the newly re-badged Lakeview Hotel.

No long ago it was called the Hotel Tilawa. We stayed there once, to meet the owner, J.P. Cazedessus, who was trying to get the brewpub started. The place was rough-and-ready; "in need of some TLC," was how we put it. In the off-season it felt like a private hostel. Now the hotel is under new management and a new name, while Cazedessus focuses on the brewery and eco-friendly housing projects. It remains a windsurfing destination, and there are options for hiking, fishing, boating, riding horses, whatever. Most importantly for our purposes, the beer is flowing.

Meanwhile: The flagship is called Witch's Rock, an American-style pale ale, and there are seasonals from time to time. The beer's name comes from a dramatic chunk of Planet Earth that juts out of the Pacific Ocean and enjoys a reputation for excellent surfing. Volcano Brewing is now connected to Witch's Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo, where the pale ale ought to be on tap at Joe's place. So that could be your Guanacaste destination, if you're in need of one.

We stayed in Tamarindo not too long ago, and it was nothing if not versatile. You can get your high from wining, dining and massages, from surfing and sunsets, or from that friendly dude out on the sidewalk selling weed. Mix and match according to interest. Now, I reckon, we can add crafty beer to the list.

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