It turns out, coffee isn’t the only decent brew Colombia has to offer.
Admittedly I had low expectations for Colombian beer. South America isn’t as internationally renowned in the beer department as are other countries I’ve visited. Despite my prejudice, there were some decent beers. However, I have to admit I was extremely biased by the price and scenery.
There are three dominant beer brands, which taste more or less the same but are decent enough in their own way. However at a price point of around $1 USD, one’s palate appreciates the pronounced economic flavor. There was also a certain aesthetic value-add to having a cold foreign beer in a dramatic beach backdrop (see above).
In sum, you don’t drink these beers for the flavor. All brewed variations could be charitably summarized by the epithet “light and refreshing.”
Aguila (see above photo): “Eagle” in Spanish. It’s “light an refreshing.”
Club Colombia: Distinct for its lightness and refreshingness.
Bogota Beer Company: the exception to the “light and refreshing” rule.
This is the first Colombian craft brew to take hold. It’s good, but for an American, where 40x “craft brews” are available at a local supermarket, it’s not a shangra-la.
Pilsen: Honestly, I’ve forgotten what this one even tastes like. But I’m going to guess it’s light and refreshing.
Panamanian brews: Light, with a hint of refreshing.
If I was to tell you that a combination of beer and cola would make a delicious beverage, would you believe me? Well, you shouldn’t. It’s actually a terrible idea. It stems from Colombia’s fixation with the saccharine.
I stumbled across refajo during a haphazard beer-run through a convenience store. While Sydney went straight for the cerveza, I tried to find the strangest and (I hoped) most indigenous and profound beverage available. After choking down what tasted like an alcoholic cream soda, I did some research and came to find that “refajo” is kind of a big deal in Colombia. If you want to get boozy and have the sweet tooth of a five-year-old, click here for a homemade recipe. Note: I actually do have the sweet tooth of a five-year-old and still couldn’t finish one.
In sum: the beers were cheap and and abundant. Not terribly noteworthy except for the places where you’ll drink them.