Beer in Puerto Rico: Craft Brews, Puerto Rican brands, and where to find them

 

August 5th is Beer Day and down here in Puerto Rico we like any reason to celebrate!  A cold beer on a hot day is the perfect relaxer and an integral part of any vacation. For those of you looking to find beer on the island of Puerto Rico or celebrate Beer Day, here is the rundown on the beer scene in Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico Craft Beer

There is only one microbrewery in Puerto Rico.  You can visit Old Harbor Brewery in Old San Juan to drink from the source… they offer an excellent sampler so that you can try each of their finely crafted brews.  After many years of trudging to Old San Juan to buy a growler for friend’s birthdays, we are excited to say that you can now find it on tap at several island establishments and they have just begun bottling it.  Here is a rundown on their microbrews:

Coqui Beer – This golden lager is our lightest beer. It is a German style Helles brewed from German 2 Row Pilsner malt and other specialty malts. The Coqui has a light golden color with an exquisite taste. This one goes very well with shellfish, bar snacks (Tapas) and light entrees. Contains 4.75% alcohol by volume.

Old Harbor Beer -A full bodied, copper colored Pale Ale prepared with magnificent flavors of American Hops, and balanced by using caramelized malts with hints of smooth fruit flavors from our yeast. Old Harbor has a nose of fresh Hops without the bitterness. This brew is destined to become a classic. OH Brew goes very well with red meats and spicy foods. Contains 5.6% alcohol by volume.

Taina Beer – This is our seasonal beer. Our Brew Master utilizes the finest and highest quality ingredients. We prepare various types of beer depending on the season and following the best of brewery traditions.

Kofresi Beer – Our Stout beer is smooth and rich with flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and balanced by the sweetness of malt. It is prepared with darkened malt that is toasted to achieve its color. Kofresi has a creamy full body and goes very well with red meat, dark fruit and chocolate desserts. Contains 6.0% alcohol by volume.

Santo Viejo Beer –  This deep, golden colored Pilsner is a bohemian nigh enchantment. Santo Viejo is prepared with the finest German malts know as Munich and Munich 1. A medium bodied beer with a mild malt flavor that is served unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Many times attempted but rarely achieved, this particular Pilsner has already reached levels of perfections. Contains 5.5% alcohol by volume.

Puerto Rico Beers

Puerto Rico makes several brews of its’ own that compete locally with imported beers such as Corona, Heinekin and Coors.  Here are the details:

Medalla Light:  Medalla is the iconic Puerto Rican brew.  Pale golden in color with a light soapy head.  Sweet malty aroma and flavor – totally non-offensive by design. A bit of a cidery finish.   It is perfect for the steamy tropical days.  And it’s true: there is only Light no Regular.  No idea why!

Magna Special Craft: Launched in 2011, Magna is a premium lager aimed at making a big splash in the premium category, where Heineken is the undisputed segment leader with 15 percent of the island’s total beer market and over 90 percent of the premium-beer sales.  It delivers full-body flavor but is light tasting and it doesn’t feel heavy after a couple of beers

Buye: Launched in 2012, this beer is noticeable with its Red, white and blue can.   Buyé is named after a popular beach in Cabo Rojo.  It will compete against local market leaders Medalla Light (made by Mayagüez-based Cervecera de Puerto Rico) and Coors Light.

Keystone V9:  Keystone has been around for many years and is made by Coors.  But Puerto Rico has its’ very own version called Keystone V9.  The can is black with a blue “V9” and is labeled as 5.9% alc./vol.

 

Where to Find Them:

Beer and all of the variety therein are becoming more popular in the last couple of years, as new importeers have begun to bring in microbrews from around the world.  As the taste for beer increases, the local market will continue to roll out  a larger variety and expand distribution.  In the meantime, here are our best tips on where to find them….  If you are looking to buy beer, your best bet is in a grocery store like Econo’s or Amigo’s.  They have a selection of regular and imported microbrews.

To find a large selection of beers at a bar, these are some great options:

  • La Taberna Lúpulo in Old San Juan. Located on the corner of Calle Cruz and Calle Sol, across from St. Germain, this beer garden offers over 100 different bottles from across the US and Europe, and a few local beers from Old Harbor on Tap.
  • Palmas Station Texaco in Cataño. During the day this is a gas station and garage catering to the motorcycle community. But at night (and weekends), the bar opens, and a selection of over 100 beers, both Craft and Macro, are available to drink on the premises, or to go. This is the most convenient one for the beer lover on the go, as it’s located just off of the highway (exit 11 on PR22), and you can fill up your tank while you get a few cold ones to take back home. During the weekends they offer live music, as well as assorted special events during the month.
  • Revolu – Kiosko #25 in Luquillo.  This bar restaurant offers over 100 different bottles from across the US and Europe, and a few local beers from Old Harbor on Tap.
  • El Yunque Rainforest: Stop in at Caribbean Trading Company Store on your way there to stock up on cold beers.

Did You Know? Fun Facts about Drinking Beer in Puerto Rico:

  • Many beers sold vary from 7 to 10 ounce bottles or cans.  Puerto Ricans prefer their beers extremely cold so the portions are small in order to be consumed before the beer has time to warm up.
  • Medalla Light has varying alcohol content – check out the can – it say 4-6%.  We always joke that you can tell by how fast you get buzzed whether it is a 4 % or 6% can.
  • Some countries have strange cures for the hangover: Puerto Ricans believe in rubbing half a lemon under the drinking arm
Captain Tim
Captain Tim

Captain Tim is the founder of Caribbean Trading Company in Puerto Rico. Many years ago Captain Tim was a normal everyday guy who decided to do what so many people only dream about. He moved to the Caribbean. Traveling throughout the islands, he has the joy of sharing this lifestyle and its flavors with the world.

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