As the world celebrates International Beer Day today, we take a look at some beers from each Central American country you need to try.
International Beer Day is here again, and Central America is the perfect place to celebrate it. After all, when you’re in a tropical country, what’s better than an ice cold one sipped from a hammock while watching the surf or listening to the sounds of the rainforest?
Central America has a bunch of great beers – light lagers that refresh mind, body, and soul. From Imperial in Costa Rica to Toña in Nicaragua, Gallo in Guatemala, and Balboa in Panama, you’re always guaranteed a winner. But what about some other beers? What about the lesser known, more artisanal beers in each country? Don’t you have a duty to sample them too? Especially on International Beer Day?
We think you do. And as such, it’s our duty to offer you beers from each Central American country that aren’t the mainstream, national beers that everyone else drinks. Let’s get started.
Everyone in Belize drinks Belikin, which is the main beer in the country and famous well beyond its borders. You’d struggle to avoid Belikin in Belize, and you wouldn’t want to in any case. But for today, International Beer Day, how about trying a Landshark?
Landshark Lager is the signature brew of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville brand, meaning it’s all about that Caribbean island vibe you find in Belize. It’s a lighter, beachy kind of beer that provides a great alternative to the rather heavier stouts in the Belikin stable.
Costa Rica (Bavaria Light or any given craft beer)
My beer of choice in Costa Rica is Imperial Silver. I began with Pilsen when I first arrived in Costa Rica at the turn of the century, and over the years, as I’ve got older, I’ve downgraded to lighter, weaker beers.
If I was looking for something that isn’t Imperial or Pilsen, the major staples of beer in Costa Rica, I’d probably go for a Bavaria Light, which is still produced by Florida Ice & Farm, the company that makes Pilsen and Imperial. So it’s not exactly an unknown, obscure beer. Call it a tier two beer.
Costa Rica also has a ton, and I mean a TON of craft beer. You’ll find a unique beer to sup on International Beer Day in pretty much any town. If you’re in Tamarindo, head to the Volcano Brewing Company, owned by Witches Rock Surf Camp. In Jacó, we recommend the PuddleFish Brewery, while those of you in Monteverde should check out the Monteverde Brewing Company. We could go on and on with craft breweries to enjoy in Costa Rica, there are that many around.
International Beer Day is perfect for Costa Rica!
El Salvador (Cadejo Brewing Company)
The main beers in El Salvador are Pilsener, Suprema, and Regia. That’s what you’ll find in every single bar or restaurant in the country, and that’s fine.
But if you’re looking for something special on International Beer Day, we’d have to recommend anything from the Cadejo Brewing Company. We’ve written a whole article on craft beer in El Salvador, so we won’t dwell too much on it here. All you need to know is you can’t go wrong with Cadejo!
— Central America Living (@VidaAmerica) January 23, 2022
Anyone who’s been to Guatemala knows that Gallo is king. You’ll see that famous rooster logo everywhere. It’s as ubiquitous in Guatemala as Belikin is in Belize and Imperial is in Costa Rica.
If you’re celebrating International Beer Day in Guatemala, though, you might want something different to Gallo. You might want a Cabro.
Cabro is, according to local beer loving friends, the best Guatemalan beer. It was once an independent brand, brewed in Quetzaltenango, but now owned by the Cerveceria Centro America that produces Gallo.
Elsewhere, craft brew lovers might want to to head over to the Antigua Brewing Company today if they feel like a special treat.
Honduras (Roatán Island Brewing)
The big four beers in Honduras are SalvaVida, Imperial, Barena, and Port Royal. You’ll find these everywhere, and they’re all good options.
Those of you celebrating International Beer Day on the island of Roatán, however, have an extra special treat to enjoy. They can head to any number of bars on the island and enjoy something from Roatán Island Brewing. This is an expat operation keeping Roatán in excellent beers all year round.
Nicaragua (Nicaragua Craft Beer Company)
Nicaragua has the best beer in Central America. That beer is Toña, and alongside Victoria, is the major beer in the country. There are many varieties of both Toña and Victoria nowadays, rather than the original two that existed when I first started going to the country.
Anyone looking for something different in Nicaragua to celebrate International Beer Day should head to the beach town of San Juan del Sur. Here, you’ll find the fantastic Nicaragua Craft Beer Company. Check out their Panga Drops brew – they even export this stuff to the States!
Panama (Casa Bruja)
Panama is another country with a wide range of national beers. If you’re in Panama, you’ll have a favorite out of Balboa (my favorite), Panama, Atlas, and Soberana. Every bar or restaurant in the country will have these beers, so choice abounds.
But International Beer Day demands something different, something away from the norm.
Casa Bruja is probably Panama’s best craft brewery, producing over 50 different beers. You can visit their Panama City taproom, buy online, or visit any number of quality restaurants and bars that serve their product.
Wherever you are in Central America, we hope you’re celebrating International Beer Day.
After all, to paraphrase myself, there’s nothing like a cold beer in a hot country. Or, as Plato once said, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” Amen to that.
James Dyde is the editor of www.centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.