Wherever one travels in the world, there is always good beer and there is always bad beer. It can often take a while to discover which particular brand is better, or which bar has a certain tasty beer on tap. This is largely down to the fact that there are always a few monopolizing companies, who fill the supermarket shelves with their beer and stock almost every bar in town. These are usually bland and uninteresting to any real beer lover, as is the case in Argentina.
Whilst there is an ever increasing number of artisan brews available, the best place to discover these, where one can be guaranteed to be offered a flavorsome ale, is in a microbrewery. Over the last decade, bars which brew their own beer have been growing in number in Buenos Aires, now providing drinkers with plenty of options to find what they are looking for. A strange effect of the growing popularity is that the high demand for their beer means that it becomes difficult to brew enough in the same place, due to limited space. For that reason, many have had to move production to an alternative location, although the bar remains the only place available to drink the produce.
The following five microbreweries offer a variety of flavors, atmospheres, clientèle, production methods, ages and service, but it is assured that all serve a lovingly made beer.
Matias Kovelt from Cossab
1. Cossab, Boedo
Cossab has been around for a number of years, although once inside, it feels much older. One of the stalwarts of the microbrewery scene in Buenos Aires, this bar has recently moved production to Villa Soldati, nearby in the south of the city, because the small premises had become crowded. As a result of this change, there is now a large kitchen providing a variety of healthily sized meals and snacks.
Dimly lit and with an atmosphere very hard to attain outside of Buenos Aires, this bar breathes beer. The barmen rotate duties when it comes to producing the beer, which they estimate to be at 2,000 litres per month. They produce six different types of beer, including lagers, ales and stouts. Being in a slightly more obscure part of town, the place is generally filled with locals, although the owners welcome everyone with a smile. In three months the owners will be opening a new bar in Villa Urquiza, but it will be hard to beat Cossab’s atmosphere.
2. Breoghan, San Telmo
Breoghan offers more than the standard bars of San Telmo. It was founded by two brothers who started out brewing beer at home. Urged by friends, who later became investors, they decided not only to sell their beer, but to do so in their very own pub.
A thoroughly decent pub with decent beer, food, service. decor and atmosphere. Well worth a visit.
3. Antares, Palermo
Antares beer is available in various bars around the country, but the company itself has a bar in the middle of Palermo. From the outside nothing much is to be expected, but upon opening the door one enters into a large room, with a very high ceiling and walls lined with posters, photos and bottles. While being more sophisticated in style and service, the bar remains very friendly and provides a wide variety of beers from the Antares line. The beer comes pouring out of kegs which appear to be 10ft tall, but which are actually much smaller, hiding underneath the gleaming barrels that are on display.
The bar offers a tray with samples of each of their beers, which is a valuable starting point for those who may be slightly unsure about what is available. There are seven brews by Antares, although there are various other seasonal varieties depending on the time of year. They try to create flavors similar to popular European brands, as opposed to seeking their own unique concoctions, but this is one of the better places to drink beer in Palermo.
4. Buller, Recoleta
The first microbrewery in Buenos Aires, this institution has been open for more than a decade and is one of the few that genuinely brews its beer on site. As one walks into the establishment it is impossible to miss the towering machinery in which the beer is fermenting its way into the pint glasses lining the bar. A mass of golden metal cauldrons, pipes and funnels provide an intriguing glimpse into the beer-making process.
The pub is family run and proud of its heritage. The machines were imported from America and do not exist anywhere else in Argentina, although this leads to slightly higher prices. Nestled amongst the aristocratic cafés and restaurants of Recoleta and separated from the famous cemetery only by an overly-sized tree, this bar is a must for any brewing enthusiast.
5. Cruzat, San Nicolas
Cruzat offers more beers than any other bar in Argentina – in excess of 150! There are imported beers as well as the huge variety of artisan beers from all over the country. Situated in the middle of a block in a peaceful area filled with bars, restaurants and the Beatles museum, this is an ideal place to come for experimenting the beers of Argentina.
With a large patio outside and sofas inside, there is ample comfy seating. A decent food menu begs to be looked at, although most of the time will be spent deciding which beer will be drunk. Having been around for five years, Cruzat is growing in popularity, but it maintains reasonable prices.
Having sampled a few local beers in Buenos Aires I can give the following advice. Take it easy. The beers are strong….