Thursday, October 25, 2012


At the National Homebrewers Conference this year, I attended a presentation by Dr. Diego Libkind (who called in via Skype) on the Patagonian origins of European lager yeast.  He threw up a gorgeous photo of his hometown - Bariloche, Argentina - and mentioned they had several craft breweries.  I was sold!

View from the hostel patio

Not a stock photo - I actually took this a few kilometres from downtown!

Aside from gorgeous mountains, lakes, skiing and hiking, chocolate and ice cream, there were in fact several craft breweries in town, and Dr. Libkind was nice enough to suggest a few for Mrs. Hoplog and I to try.


First up was Bachmann, a small operation in a cute house.

Tasters were available, and revealed that their schwarzbier was well worth another taste.  All beers were low in alcohol and bitterness, and nicely brewed.

My name is Chad, and I approve of this beer


Next up was Antares, a bigger brewpub with several locations, who also sells their beer in bottles.

The interior was certainly full-on craft beer bar, and it was busy.

The beer selection was excellent, though the quality was a bit lacking compared to Bachmann.  Only one beer was what I'd call bad, but none of them were "great."  (A lot of forgettable recipes and low-level flaws.)  Still, it was a well organized operation that is clearly seeing a lot of success.  Some higher-alcohol beers were present, but no hoppy/bitter beers (except the barleywine).

Nice range of beers, but I'm trying hard to forget that Octoberfest seasonal at the bottom right, ouch


We had to wait until Tuesday for Manush to open, but it was worth wait.  Very cozy, some nice beers, great food, and truly outstanding service.  A must-visit for a meal in Bariloche.

Happy Hour - 6 until 7 or 8 in Argentina - means 2 for 1 beers, but per person, no sharing!

A pretty nice little milk stout at Manush.  The Kolsch and Pale Ale were quite passable too

A couple of preliminary observations on Argentinian craft beer:

  • Cerveza artesenal exists in Argentina, and the movement seems to be progressing nicely.
  • My perception is that smaller craft breweries have difficulty controlling fermentation temperatures.  Perhaps large-scale refrigeration and/or heating is an expense they can't bear.  Anyway, many beers are a bit fruitier and "warmer" than usual, and some struggling yeast flavour is common.
  • Craft beer is subtle here - brewers aren't cranking out hop bombs and huge imperial stouts.  I would guess this is similar to a decade ago in BC, when beer consumers' palettes were still used to macro lager and were not ready for bigger, full-flavour beers.  So don't expect it to taste like Portland, OR here.  At least not yet.
  • If you have allergies, note that most craft beer bars provide all tables with a free snack of peanuts.

More Bariloche brewpubs still to come.

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