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Are you on a mission to drink a beer from every country in the world? Even if you aren’t in the mood for a global beer tour, there are beers out there you have been missing. Case in point: Central and South American beers. Sure, such beers may not be world renowned, but they are delicious. But be warned: This article is bound to give you a serious case of beer- and wanderlust.
Check out the list below of the best Central and South American beers to try when you get the chance:
1. Bolivia: Paceña
Our first stop on the Latin American beer tour is Bolivia, where they have fun pilsner known as Paceña. Since 1886, this lager-style brew has been made by the National Bolivian Brewery in La Paz. Many Bolivians agree that Paceña is not like many beers you have had before. Part of the reason is the quality of the water, which is taken straight from the stunning Andes Mountains. In fact, it would be difficult to brew a Paceña knockoff anywhere else in the world.
Expect a traditional pilsner vibe with a clean aftertaste and a light flavor. It’s perfect for hydrating after spending time out in the sun.
2. Brazil: Brahma
Did you know that Brahma beer is in the top 10 of beer brands throughout the world? After Skol, Brahma is the second most consumed beer in the country of Brazil. With an ABV of 4.3% and a zesty flavor with a delicate blend of tropical citrus and hops, Brahma is everything you would want in a summertime beer. The aroma is malty and hoppy at the same time, and the clean mouthfeel is delightful.
Brahma was first brewed up in 1886, and it has been an unstoppable force in the world of beer ever since.
Here is a review on Brahma beer, so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth trying:
3. Colombia: Aguila
When headed to Columbia, keep your eyes peeled for Aguila. The light and crisp pils has been a staple in the country since 1913. Owned by Bavaria Brewery, Aguila continues to be one of the most popular beers, as it is refreshing, light, and none too boozy. That makes it perfect for all kinds of drinkers.
Interesting, the can, which is blue and yellow, happens to be Columbia’s favorite part. It is believed to have been inspired by the nation’s flag. Aguila beer is also the official sponsor for the Columbian football (soccer) team.
4. Argentia: Quilmes
Known for its blue and white labels, Quilmes has a dominant hold on the beer market in Argentina. Sales of Quilmes pale lager alone accounts for 67% of all beer sold! Because of that, Quilmes is known as the national beer of Argentina and, like Aguila from Columbia, is the sponsor of the national football team.
What does it taste like? Quilmes is light and has a slight hoppy flavor.
The history of the brand is fascinating, too. Cerveceria y Malteria Quilmes was founded by Otto Bemberg, a German immigrant, in 1980. Since then, the beer has been popular throughout the country but especially Buenos Aires, where the brewery was originally founded.
Check out this fun Quilmes commercial:
5. Ecuador: Pilsener
Headed to Ecuador? Prepare to see bottles of Pilsener beer everywhere you go. Although light, this lager has an outrageously thick head. Brewed by Cerveceria Nacional Ecuador, Pilsener beer has many loyal drinkers. It has been served in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands for years and is commonly called “la cerveza de los Ecuatorianos,” or “the Ecuadorian’s beer.”
Pilsener has a Bavarian flair to it that you might expect, based on the name. On the tongue, the beer is light-bodied and has some grassier notes.
6. Peru: Cusqueña
One of the most common beers in Peru is called Cusqueña, a beer originating from the region known as Cusco. Due to how Peru has many regional products, Cusqueña tends to be most popular in the region where it is made, so if you want to try it, head to Cusco! There are four varieties of the beer available: Dorada (a lager), Negra (dark ale), Trigo (wheat beer), and Roja (red ale).
Cusqueña is easily recognizable at local bars, because it has an image of Machu Picchu on the label, as well as traditional Incan artwork. Whichever style you choose, there are notes of cream and caramel that makes Cusqueña a little addicting.
7. Chile: Kunstmann
Yes, one of the best South American beers is based off German brews. Kunstmann is brewed in Valdivia and was once considered a craft beer of sorts. You could even say that Kunstmann created such a stir that other breweries were inspired to try the same thing. Because of its popularity, Kunstmann is found throughout the country. Just ask for it by name.
There are several flavors of Kunstmann, including special brews like Chocolate, Sommer Pils, Trigo, IPA, Blueberry, and Honig Ale.
Fun fact: if you head to Chile, keep an eye open for Bierfest Kunstmann Valdivia, a mini-Oktoberfest. There is German folk music, dancing, food, and beer. Also, out of the all beers on this list, Kunstmann is probably one of the few you can get your hands on outside of Chile, as it is shipped to Germany, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, and the USA.
8. Guatemala: Gallo
Guatemala is a country known for a couple of things: coffee, chocolate, Mayan ruins, and volcanoes. It is also known for its beer featuring a rooster on the label. Known as Gallo, this 100% Guatemalan beer is pleasant, full-bodied, and also slightly bitter on the tail-end. When trying Gallo beer for the first time, it is recommended you drink it with traditional Guatemalan food, such as tamales. The flavors of the beer are meant to take the edge off any spices.
9. Uruguay: Davok American IPA
You may not have thought you would find an American-style IPA on this list, but here you go. Uruguay’s best beer is called Davok American IPA, and it has everything you need to beat the heat. Davok American IPA is on the mild side of IPAs, and it has a lovely orange color that suggests a citrus flavor. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume this, because the beer has notes of pine, orange, and caramel.
Uruguayans enjoy a pint of Davok American IPA with chivito, a kind of Uruguayan sandwich, or while watching football at the tavern.
10. Nicaragua: Toña
You may have noticed that, throughout this article, many of the best beers on this list are brewed with the climate or the culture in mind. Heavy, thick beers are not popular in places where there is high humidity and rainforests. This is also true of Nicaragua and the beer called Toña. A light lager, Toña is refreshing, smooth, and balanced. The slight flavor hints at malt and barley.
Time to say “Salud”!
Don’t these Central and South American beers sound amazing? Sure, these beers might be on the lighter side of beer, but they are well known for being refreshing, crisp, and aromatic. Keep an eye out for the more popular brands when you go on a journey, or you could also see if stores near you are selling Kunstmann and other brands! Which one would you like to try first?
Don’t forget to check out the Sound Brewery roundup of the best Honduran beers!
FAQs on Latin American Beer
Since there are multiple countries in South America, each with their own national beer, it is difficult to say which is the most popular. That said, Brahma beer from Brazil is in the top 10 list of the most widely consumed beer.
In Argentina, most people drink the national beer called Quilmes.
Many beers are popular in South America, including Brahma, Gallo, Cusqueña, Kunstmann, Paceña, and Aguila.
The national beer of Peru is called Pilsen Callo. It has existed for over 100 years, and the recipe has been changed multiple times. However, Peruvians are very loyal to this beer, and you can find it everywhere.
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