Patricia Trigueros takes a look at the world of craft beer in El Salvador, where traditional favorites intertwine with modern creations. Explore a dynamic landscape that encompasses classic brews and innovative flavors, reflecting the country’s evolving beer scene.
Does having a tendency to look for craft beer make me a beer snob? I don’t think so.
I have not boycotted the original and classic beers I grew up with in El Salvador – Pilsener, Suprema, and Regia all taste fine to me. Ice-cold Pilseners are perfect for beachfront conversations. I often choose Suprema as my appetizer before a meal. And I will stick to Regia over the course of a long, meat-on-the-grill-kind of lunch. Salud!
But when you say cheers and clink a tiny sample glass, and your mouth fills up with a whole new body… When it kicks in and flavors intermingle… Well, it makes you want to try more.
A tiny sip from one of these and you’ll sign up for craft drinking, the art of beer tasting.
I’m more of a fan than a snob
I’ve been practicing craft drinking, and as part of my practice, I’ve learned where to get the beer I want in San Salvador.
While El Salvador is not exactly overflowing with microbreweries, you can find sellers and cellars that fit the mold of your sweet niche tastes.
You’ll find waves of compelling stories and a labyrinth of flavors to set different moods. And there’s an extra kick in finer, crafty beer that you don’t get from the malty light or brown marketed beer.
Little becomes a lot when quality is there.
Take Santo Coraje, for example
Their beers are all designed to meet different tastes and palates. Each beer in their lineup has a distinct personality. You’re likely to come across a sample and sip on them all before asking for your first pint. Santo Coraje pops up at different cultural and commercial events in El Salvador. This enables them to build a growing community that shares an interest in spreading the word about them.
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The Cadejo Brewing Company has a different strategy
Named after the Mexican/Central American legend, The Cadejo Brewing Company guys are the bad boys of the local craft beer scene in El Salvador.
Despite the fact that most people in El Salvador drink beer from the bottle, Cadejo started producing barrels. You could only get it on tap at first, with either of two flavors. Now, they have a number of excellent bars in El Salvador (including a great one at the beach!), and Guatemala. They serve a variety of signature beers, on top of their always surprising seasonal brew.
Their Belgian-inspired blonde – La Mera Belga – is still my favorite. Time flies when I sit down at the Cadejo Brewing Company with some of that. Like Santo Coraje, Cadejo caters events. And now they even bottle their products for the supermarkets, and I’ll often stop by and get some to go.
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But sometimes I pick up other bottles at the supermarket, too
Depending on which one you go to, you can choose from many global brews including Rogue and Dogfish Head. Erdinger Pikantus, for when you feel like getting a light buzz after a long day. Or Sapporo, for when you’re feeling light but wouldn’t mind the lightheadedness that three of those will give you.
In El Salvador, the craft beer scene is becoming more fertile every day.
And once you’ve explored the scene, you might even want to start your own craft brewery and taproom. Just make sure you learn about brewing processes and understand things like the craft beer cost breakdown before you get started.
I am eager to keep exploring and perfecting my craft drinking, supporting these new ways, from places to bottles, of channeling experiences.
Patricia Trigueros is a free spirit, writer, and translator from El Salvador. She has the habit of drinking too much coffee and writing in English, French, and Spanish. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.