As the world celebrates International Beer Day today, we take a look at some beers from each Central American country that you must try.
International Beer Day is back 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 drink sipped in a hammock while watching the waves or listening to the sounds of the rainforest?
Central America has plenty of good beers – light lagers that refresh the mind, body and soul. From Imperial in Costa Rica to Toña in Nicaragua, Gallo in Guatemala and Balboa in Panama, you are always guaranteed to win. But what about other beers? What about the lesser-known, more artisanal beers from each country? Don’t you have a duty to taste them too? Especially on International Beer Day?
We think so. And as such, it is our duty to offer you beers from each Central American country that are not the traditional national beers that everyone drinks. Let’s start.
Everyone in Belize drinks Belikin, which is the country’s main beer and famous far beyond its borders. You’d be hard pressed to avoid Belikin in Belize, and you wouldn’t under any circumstances. But for today, International Beer Day, how about trying a Landshark?
Landshark Lager is the signature beer of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville brand, which means it’s all about that Caribbean island vibe you find in Belize. It is a lighter, beach beer that offers a great alternative to the rather heavier stouts from the Belikin stable.
Costa Rica (Bavaria Light or any craft beer)
My favorite beer in Costa Rica is Imperial Silver. I started with Pilsen when I arrived in Costa Rica at the turn of the century, and over the years, as I got older, I downgraded to lighter, weaker beers.
If I was looking for something that isn’t Imperial or Pilsen, the main staple beers in Costa Rica, I’d probably opt 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 and 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 for supper on International Beer Day in almost every city. 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 visit the Monteverde Brewing Company. We could go on and on with craft brews to taste in Costa Rica, there are plenty 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 bar or restaurant in the country, and that’s fine.
But if you’re looking for something special this International Beer Day, we have to recommend anything from the Cadejo Brewing Company. We wrote an entire article about craft beer in El Salvador, so we won’t dwell too much on that here. All you need to know is that you can’t go wrong with Cadejo!
— Living in Central America (@VidaAmerica) January 23, 2022
Anyone who has been to Guatemala knows that Gallo is king. You’ll see that famous rooster logo everywhere. It is as ubiquitous in Guatemala as Belikin in Belize and Imperial in Costa Rica.
If you’re celebrating International Beer Day in Guatemala, you might want something different from 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 Cerveceria Centro America which produces Gallo.
Elsewhere, craft beer lovers might want to head to the Antigua Brewing Company today if they fancy a treat.
Honduras (brewery from the island of Roatán)
The four great beers of Honduras are SalvaVida, Imperial, Barena and Port Royal. You’ll find them everywhere, and they’re all good options.
Those of you celebrating International Beer Day on the island of Roatán, however, have an extra treat to savor. They can go to any number of bars on the island and enjoy something from Roatán Island Brewing. This is an expat operation that keeps Roatán in great beers all year round.
Nicaragua (Nicaragua Craft Beer Company)
Nicaragua has the best beer in Central America. This beer is Toña, and together with Victoria, it is the main beer in the country. There are many varieties of Toña and Victoria these days, 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 will find the fantastic Nicaragua Craft Beer Company. Check out their Panga Drops brew – they even export this stuff to the US!
Panama (Casa Bruja)
Panama is another country with a wide range of national beers. If you are in Panama you will have a favorite among Balboa (my favorite), Panama, Atlas and Soberana. Every bar or restaurant in the country will have these beers, so there is no shortage of choice.
But International Beer Day demands something different, something different from the norm.
Casa Bruja is probably the best craft brewery in Panama, producing over 50 different beers. You can visit their Panama City bar, shop online, or visit a number of quality restaurants and bars that serve their wares.
Wherever you are in Central America, we hope you are celebrating international beer day.
After all, to paraphrase me, 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 publisher of www.centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.