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The Best Beers of Latin America: Imperial, Polar, Cristal, El Aguila or Something Else?

The Best Beers of Latin America: Imperial, Polar, Cristal, El Aguila or Something Else?

By Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

When it comes to beers, Latin America and its surrounding regions know a thing or two about it. Whether they’re drinking the beers at home with family around a homemade meal or they’re chugging it while watching the latest soccer game, it’s one of the preferred beverages and below we’re showcasing some of the most popular beers of the region. 

 Argentina: Quilmes

One of South America’s most popular beers, if not THE most popular, Quilmes is brewed in Buenos Aires and is the official sponsor to Argentina’s football team, the Albicelestes (sky blue and whites). If you’ve seen a bottle of Quilmes, you’ll know the beer’s colors are sky blue and white as well. Founded in 1888 by Otto Bemberg, a German immigrant. Their slogan? “El Sabor del Encuentro”. 

Colombia: Cerveza El Aguila

With more then 15 large breweries in the country, Aguila beer stands out. Also founded by a German immigrant, it is brewed in the Bavaria Brewery, the subsidiary of SABMiller. Before this merge, it was the second largest brewery in South America.

Dominican Republic: Presidente

Well known in the United States, the unofficial beer of the Dominican Republic, is enjoyed by many around the world. Produced by Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, it was named after the then president/dictador Trujillo. Starting out as a dark beer, it was unpopular but in the 1960’s, production started to create a light pilsner that is extremely popular today. Since 1997, Presidente has sponsored the “Festival Presidente de Musica Latina” which is a weekend filled with Dominican and International music talent. In 2012, it became the official sponsor of the Miami Marlins.

Chile: Cristal

A pale lager from Chile, a country that has a strong tradition of brewing corn beer known as chicha. With their slogan as “Unica, Grande, Nuestra”, Chileans are very proud of their beer! Hints of lime and overall citrus tasting notes, its light body makes it an ideal meal to balance with heavy proteins like beef.

Peru: Cusqueña

Founded in 1908, it’s become Peru’s popular beer. With a family of products, they’re very proud of their culture. On the beer bottle, they’ve included the design of their country’s twelve angle stones, showcasing the Incan influence.

 Puerto Rico: Medalla

Just this past summer of 2012 did the Medalla beer arrive in Miami, with great support from their social media online community, as well as a variety of local events. A light beer at times compared to seltzer, it’s a great beverage on a hot day. Brewed in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Mexico: Negra Modelo

A rich and robust flavored beer, Negra Modelo is refered to as the best beer in Mexico, and for good reason. It’s spicy and nutty, with caramel and chocolate undertones. You can find this beer at most of your local Mexican restaurants and it’s because it pairs fantastically well with tacos, enchiladas, and burritos! The spice of the beer balances the spiciness of food well, so be sure to grab a cold one when you order the tacos!

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Ecuador: Pilsener

Brewed by Cerveceria Nacional Ecuador, it’s the beer everyone in Ecuador drinks. Very light in flavor and not much aroma, it’s an easy beer if you’re not used to the darker ales. Although the Cerveceria runs the beer industry in Ecuador, there is rumor of a growing craft beer scene growing in Ecuador, including beers like Cerveza Umiña, Roche’s Brewery, Cherusker and Montañita Brewing Company.

Venezuela: Polar

As Venezuela’s largest beer producer in private hands, Polar has huge popularity. Consumers immediately associate the beer label with hot city nights in Maracaibo and the only way to quench their thirst was an ice cold Polar. Mostly seen in Venezuela, it tried to make its way to Colombia to no avail.

Jamaica: Red Stripe

Sometimes compared to Pacifico out of Mexico, Red Stripe is a pale Lager that should be enjoyed immediately upon your arrival in Montego Bay or Kingston. The beer was originally created in the 1930s and continues to make a name for itself as an exported product in bigger markets, like the U.S.

Costa Rica: Imperial

Appealing to the adventurous beer drinkers and with “A Taste for Adventure” as their slogan, it feeds off of the eco-tours and extreme vacations tourists head to Costa Rica for. A balance of malt, grains, and hops, it’s a refreshing beer that suits perfectly when you’re zip-lining down a Costa Rican forest. Recently launched in can form, it’s main audience are adventure seekers!

 

 

 

About Marnely Rodriguez

4 comments

  1. Popular is not the same as good. Although I like the "Negra Modelo" choice for mexico, there are outstanding artisanal beers here. Good examples are: CUCAPA from Baja California, or my favourite MINERVA, from Guadalajara.

  2. Polar is excellent! Too bad it's so hard to find in the US.
    In Cartago, Costa Rica there is a micro brewery called Costa Rica Craft Brewing Co. They make several varieties and have a great tour.

  3. Presidente from the Dominican Republic is certainly a great beer but Bohemia is also good. In Colombia, Costeña gets my vote, though. Brasil's Itaipava is a great Pilsener. Sól from México also gets overlooked. Don't overlook Kalik from the Bahamas.

  4. Presidente from the Dominican Republic is a great beer, but must be enjoyed ice cold!
    Aguila is a good beer from Colombia but my favorite is Costeña. A great hot weather pilsener
    Venezuela’s Polar is a good hot weather beer.
    My favorite Mexican beer is actually Indio, but there are many great beers from Mexico.
    Kalik from Bahamas and Carib from Trinidad and Tobago are decent beers, but not champions.
    I love Puerto Rico, but their beers: Medalla & Hatuey are awful!

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