Welcome to a special presentation of Argentinian microbrews: Buenos Aires, a craft-beer drinking show. I’m proud to present the best three craft breweries in Buenos Aires according to me and Where Is Your Toothbrush?
- Read Part 1 of the series for craft beers #6 thru #4
#3 craft beer in Buenos Aires: Breoghan
It took two tries for us to find Breoghan Brew Bar open but the experience nicely capped our Sunday at the San Telmo fair. Though new (since August 2012) at this location, the place is a good-old brew pub with brick walls, dark-wood furniture, and displays of coasters, many from our very own Oregon. A scent of beer brewing oozed from the back of the building and 1980’s pop hits from the stereo.
The menu board featured 6 brews but only three were on tap. Stronger than I’d expected, Breo Pride Golden Ale (5.3% ABV, 17 IBU) started with fruity notes that would have made it taste like a non-alcoholic beverage were it not for a brush of hops and a refreshing malty aftertaste. San Telmo Fire IPA was full-bodied and round, with a citrusy start and a big hoppy finish. The day’s special, Satan Patricio Irish Red Ale, too, was a big ale, featuring a beautiful dark-red color, full flavor, and rich hoppy finish and aftertaste.
The only weakness these beers had in common was insufficient carbonation, which left them flat in each pint’s last quarter.
If you go
- Location: Bolívar 860 in San Telmo, one block from the Defensa street where the Sunday market takes place; Subte C/Blue Independencia.
- Prices: AR$25 (USD3.10 / DolarBlue2.50) for half-pint, AR$40 (USD5.00 / DolarBlue4.00) for a pint, AR$42 (USD5.25 / DolarBlue4.20) for the special.
- Hours: Opens at 6 p.m.
#2 craft beer in Buenos Aires: Buller
Sampling the beers, you can tell Buller has been at it for a while and used the time to perfect their brews. The IPA (6% ABV, 43 IBU) boasted a beautiful amber color and a citrusy start that rolled into and persisted beneath a gentle hoppy middle and finish. The flavor lingered on the palate asking to be replenished with another sip of the nicely carbonated brew. The color of the Hefeweizen (5% ABV, 13 IBU) reminded me of the sun on the Argentinian flag and its flavor of Hoegaarden minus the Belgian brew’s yeasty distinctiveness. It would have been better with a lemon and on a summer day.
The Stout (5.8% ABV, 39 IBU) came with a thick creamy head, a full creamy body, and hints of hops beneath the dark caramel coffee notes. It was the best stout I’d had for a while, big without being overwhelming, easy and balanced without losing its special character.
The beer list also included Pilsner (4.5% ABV, 16 IBU), Honey Beer (8.5% ABV, 16 IBU), and Oktoberfest (5.5% ABV, 18 IBU), which wasn’t available at the time.
If you go
- Location: Roberto M. Ortiz 1827, next to the La Recoleta Cemetery; Subte C/Green Callao plus a brisk 20 minute walk.
- Prices: AR$34–36 (USD4.25–4.50 / DolarBlue3.40–3.60) for a half-pint and for a pint during “Fanatic Time”, AR$49–52 (USD6.10–6.50 / DolarBlue4.90–5.20) for a pint.
- Hours: Opens at 12 p.m., Fanatic Time from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
#1 craft beer in Buenos Aires: Bröeders Artesanal
Drumroll, please! Introducing the hands-down best microbrew and best craft beer company in Buenos Aires: Basil IPA by Bröeders Artesanal.
The winner was served as the second of three beers paired with a three-course Southern-style dinner at NOLA Buenos Aires, a puerta cerrada (literally, closed-door, or secret) restaurant. While the preceding Irish Red Ale and the final Stout were in and of themselves amazing and better than many of the brews on this page, the first sip of the Basil IPA left me speechless. I’d never thought basil could so beautifully complement hops. The beer’s complexity and near-perfect balance made every sip an adventure, a challenge in discovering its secret, a joy.
The icing on the cake (or should I say, the head on the beer): Bröeders Artesanal‘s brewers themselves, brothers Marcelo and Francisco Terren, were on hand to pour the pints, answer questions, and provide a tour of the tiny rooftop space where the brewing magic happens. I could tell they’re passionate about making beer, which certainly translates into their products. They feel optimistic about their company’s prospects: not only do they now have a larger, 500-liter capacity brewing space, they believe that since the craft beer market in Argentina is tiny, they have a great chance to capture a good part of it. The beers they’ve made so far make for a solid foundation and I wish them the best on their path to domination.
If you go
- Location: As of March 2014 Bröeders Artesanal’s brews are available only at NOLA Buenos Aires (email them for reservation and location; brews rotate) and, strangely enough, at Fukuro Noodle Bar, Costa Rica 5514, Palermo (IPA and Golden), Subte D/Green Palermo. In the summer 2014 NOLA will open a storefront in the Palermo neighborhood.
- Hours: NOLA is open for dinner most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, reservation only. Check their website website for more information and availability. Fukuro is open Tuesday thru Thursday from 8:00 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
- Prices: Three pint pairings are included in the AR$200 (USD25.00 / DolarBlue20.00) flat-rate charge for the NOLA dinner. At Fukuro, a pint costs AR$40 (USD5.00 / DolarBlue4.00)
- Lindsay and I made beer tasting into an activity, and all beer descriptions incorporate Lindsay’s observations. Any errors or omissions are mine.
- Dolar Blue is the unofficial exchange rate for the U.S. dollar, approx. 20% better than the official rate, up to 40% better than the ATM rate, and available only from street vendors. Learn more here. The Dolar Blue rate I use in this blog post series is as of April 10, 2014, per DolarBlue.net. The official rate listed is also as of April 10, 2014, per Google. All dollar figures are rounded to the nearest 5 cents.