Javi the Frog in the correct place
Javi the Frog on a Craft Beer Keg

My job is to travel all around Costa Rica to soak up the culture, taste all the unique food, see the rich, lush landscapes, and of course, try the drinks! Craft brewing has become very popular in Costa Rica recently, and I was lucky enough to get to meet with Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company for a tour! This brewery was the first hand crafted beer to be bottled in Costa Rica, and their marketing man, Benjamin, took me around the building and gave me some great information about the history of the company. I recommend that you visit the brewery yourself in Mora, before Ciudad Colón, but here’s what you need to know about Costa Rica’s Craft Brewery Company before you head there.

Craft Beer Popularity

Interest in local, small scale production of goods, including food and drinks, has boomed in the last 50 years, and brought a lot of attention to this model of production. I especially love craft companies because they use local and natural ingredients and supplies. This type of industrialization is right on par with Costa Rica’s core values, which include preservation, sustainability, and cultural growth. Craft breweries are one of my favorite examples of this reinvigorated industry. Craft brewers in Costa Rica use natural, and authentic, ingredients from Costa Rica, and they bring in the artistic nature of Costa Ricans through crafting traditional recipes. Craft breweries are not like corporate breweries that have to produce profit reports to their stakeholders; craft beer is all about the craft.

I was really excited to tour Craft Brewing Co. because I got to see how they are spending their company money to produce drinks with flavor. Benjamin explain the craft brewing industry to me very well. He told me about how those that cared about taste reacted to the world’s mass-­brewing with craft brewing, to give people more options, and so many more tastes and flavors. He also said that craft breweries are more friendly about sharing their company’s information, so that consumers can see how craft beer production differs from ma bee production.

Benjamin with his new friend Javi the Frog
Benjamin with his new friend Javi the Frog

Benjamin told me that one of the mottos of Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing C., is to focus on the quality of their product, instead of the quantity that they are able to produce. While this might mean that a drink you really like isn’t available year-­round or at­-will, it also means that the portions that are available are going to be fresh. Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. This brewery has only been around since October of 2010, but they’ve already made a big impact in Costa Rica, winning several local and international awards. Benjamin told me that the company was started as nothing more than a dream that eventually became a microbrewery that manufactures and packages its own products. They have inspired many other companies in Costa Rica, as pioneers of the craft brewery movement, and though these other companies are their competition, they look to them also for inspiration and hold some admiration for anyone that Is crafting their own fresh beers.

Javi the Frog trying some delicious food at La Planta Restaurant
Javi the Frog trying some delicious food at La Planta Restaurant

They know that they helped get Costa Rica on the world beer map, but that only with competition will they all strive to keep producing the best beers in the world. The company put in long hours of sweat, artistry, and heart, and that hard work helped them establish the first microbrewery in Central America. Today, they keep up their strict quality control measures and use the best equipment to keep producing beer that makes Costa Ricans proud.

Craft Brewing Co's Brewery
Craft Brewing Co's Brewery

Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. main Products

During my tour, I was exposed to the ingredients that the brewery uses, which are simple things in their natural state, from malt to hops. Benjamin assured me that no preservatives or artificial colors are used during the production of their beers. I got to see what they use for additives to add flavor or texture, which included honey, coffee, fruits, cocoa, black pepper, and cinnamon. All of these main ingredients and additives add up to a final product that focuses on aroma, flavor, and color. Benjamin and his team are committed to creating unique and authentic beers, and they cook and ferment their flavors with love and passion. They want to promote a safe, and satisfying, beer culture for Costa Rica, its locals, and the tourists that visit each year. The brewery’s three most popular productions are Segua Red Ale, Libertas Tropical Golden Ale, and Malacrianza Scottish Ale. These three flavors are produced annually and recognized not only locally, but also in the national market. Of course, I had to try all three. My tour just wouldn’t have been complete without some tastings!

Craft Brewing Co's Variety of Beers
Craft Brewing Co's Variety of Beers

1. Segua Red Ale

This is a beer that has a reddish color. Benjamin explained that this is because it is a blend of pale with caramel malts. After looking at it, I took a big whiff of its aroma and detected fruits and flowers with a little bit of spice. It had a hoppy taste overall, but it was crisp. There was a great balance to the beer – it was smooth and full flavored. Benjamin told me that the Segua Red Ale is best to drink with some spicy BBQ. He also explained that the drink is named after a character from a Central American legend!

2. Libertas Tropical Golden Ale

The color for this was very different than the color for the Segua Red Ale; this one was lightly colored. It has just a touch of hops, and a full flavor. Benjamin told me that this beer is one of his favorites, because it pairs so well with the general climate in Costa Rica. This is a great beer to pair with fresh fish (locally caught, of course!).

3. Malacrianza Scottish Ale (which has been the recipient of the Silver Medal in the America’s Cup Beers)

It was named for a pretty impressive (and tough) bull, and the beer delivers on that name. This is a dark ale, with a copper color. It was full bodied, and the smell was a malt, sweetened by candied fruit. That sweetness was balanced with just the right amount of smokiness.

Malt used for making craft beer
Malt used for making craft beer