Today we are talking about one of our absolute favorite topics favorite topics…..beer in Costa Rica! Did you know there are actually a lot of great beers from Costa Rica? It’s true!
Side note, do you guys like the cover photo for this one? You can clearly see what makes me happiest in life. It’s the little things!
Anybody else a total beer snob? Thomas and I started our beer snobbery in 2010 while living in Virginia and now the whole thing has spiraled a bit out of control. We are those annoying people who discuss things such as hop content like the total snobs we are.
Last time I was home in the US, I saw these cute tea towels that I am still regretting not buying. They completely sum up my feeling on craft beer.
Anyway, back on topic….beer in Costa Rica.
The whole craft beer thing has started to grow in popularity here in Costa Rica and we are so happy! Besides Costa Rica craft beer, there are a few different national beers which are worth at least trying. You probably won’t be blown away, but all beer should get a chance, right?
So, let’s get started on all things beer in Costa Rica! Yeay!
National Beers of Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a few different national beers. I’ve got to be honest, they are definitely not the best beers we have ever drunk, but they have their charms. Thomas will completely disagree with me on the “they have their charms” part. He says that the Costa Rica national beers give him the worst hangovers, but I think it’s all in his head. Shhh….don’t tell him.
Imperial comes in three different types; the normal Imperial, Imperial Silver, and Imperial Light. Imperial is a bit watery and the normal version has an alcohol content of 4.6%.
I am partial to Imperial Silver. It is very light and reminds me of a Corona. It is the perfect beach beer. I always put some lime in mine, like you would with Corona.
Pilsen is a bit more full-bodied than Imperial, but it is still rather light as far as beers go. It has an ABV of 5.1%.
If we are at a restaurant that only serves Costa Rican beers, we tend to go with Pilsen.
Bavaria is the last national beer in Costa Rica. I like Bavaria because they have more varieties than the other beer companies. Bavaria comes in Bavaria Dark, Bavaria Light, Bavaria Chill, Bavaria Red, and Bavaria Gold.
Bavaria Light and Bavaria Gold are pretty similar to a Pilsen or Imperial, but the Bavaria Dark has at least a bit more of a full-bodied flavor. Plus, I’m all for dark beer and although Bavaria Dark is far from amazing, I’ll take what I can get!
We have not tried the Bavaria Red or the Bavaria Chill but I’ll make it my homework to try them out and report back to you. Yes, it is a tough job I have here. 😉
Bavaria also sometimes comes out with seasonal specials. For example, as of writing this they are selling special winter six packs that include two chocolate beers, two vanilla beers, and two cinnamon beers.
Thomas and I were really excited to try them out, but in all honesty, it tastes like normal Bavaria Dark that with vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate sprinkled in at the end. We were not impressed. If you try them out let us know what you think of them!
Definitely try out the Costa Rica national beers but if they are not your thing have no fear! We have plenty of great Costa Rica craft beer suggestions.
Just keep in mind that the cost of beer in Costa Rica ranges a lot. The national beers are much much cheaper than any craft beers you might buy.
In-Store Costa Rica Craft Beers
The grocery stores in Costa Rica usually have a decent selection of local craft beers. When I say “grocery stores” I mean the big supermarkets like Automercado or Masxmenos. The small convenient stores usually only carry the Costa Rican national beers.
We like to get a few different bottles and do a taste test of all the Costa Rica beers.
This ↓ is by far my favorite in-store craft beer in Costa Rica. It is a fruity ale with passion fruit and dragonfruit. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy, but don’t knock it until you try it. It is the perfect beer for tropical environments. I suggest putting it in the freezer for about 30 minutes before drinking it. It is definitely best when it is really cold.
Our Favorite Places to Drink Beer in Costa Rica
We love to find great places to drink craft beer in Costa Rica! However, I will admit that most of the places we have found to drink craft beer are owned by foreigners. Maybe more Tico owned breweries will pop up soon.
Volcano Brewing Company – Tamarindo
Volcano Brewing is the happening place in Tamarindo. Seriously, this place is always crowded!
We like this spot because they brew their own craft beer and you can grab a picnic table right on the beach to enjoy this view. ↑
We love their IPA and nachos. Just be warned the amount of nachos they give you is a bit insane.
Volcano Brewing is open daily from 11:00am until 12:00am.
You can find out more about Volcano Brewing Company from their Facebook page.
Fuego Brew Co. – Dominical
Fuego Brewery located in downtown Dominical is one of the fanciest restaurants we have been to in Costa Rica. When I say fancy I don’t mean you have to dress nice or that it is expensive. I mean fancy as in, so freaking nicely designed. It’s just absolutely beautiful in there.
Thomas especially loved this glass window in the floor ↑ so you can watch the brewery process below.
Fuego has excellent food and interesting craft brews. They had a wide variety of their own brews but I was definitely most excited about the beers that were brewed with various Costa Rican fruits. Thomas was all about their Weizenn beers.
Overall a great spot for a long lunch or dinner with good beers.
Note: They do have beer flights, but it doesn’t seem to be on their menu. Just ask for it and they will bring you one. The cover photo for this article is actually from Fuego.
Open daily from 11:30am to 10:30pm.
You can find out more info on their website.
Taco Taco – Monteverde
We went to Taco Taco in Monteverde on a whim when walking by the sign and then we fell in love with this place. Their tacos are excellent and their craft menu is on point. They do not brew their own beers, but they carry a wide variety of Costa Rican brews including some from Monteverde. Also, they have flights with samplers, which we are all about. I mean, seriously what can be better than testing out several different types of beer?!?
This place is very laid back and has a cafe type of vibe.
Just be warned, we went here for lunch and had no problem finding a table. We loved it so much that we tried to go back for dinner and it was too crowded for us to even get a table. I think lunch is the way to go.
Open daily from 11am to 10pm.
You can find out more info on their Facebook page.
Clandestina – Montezuma
This is our go-to hang out spot in Montezuma. The beer is on point and the food great as well. Also, the place is the perfect spot to spend a few hours relaxing.
They also have a butterfly garden on the property which is definitely worth checking out.
Thomas especially loves their Weizen beer and I’m a huge fan of their Earthquake IPA.
They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm.
You can find out more info on their website here.
The San Jose Costa Rica Beer Tour
We recently had a free weekend so naturally, we decided to fill our Saturday by making our own little craft beer tour of San Jose. We went to four places in total, but there five places on this list (one place didn’t open until later so we skipped it). We thought it would be fun to share our tour with you so that if you find yourself with some free time in San Jose you can replicate our fun beer tasting extravaganza!
Let’s get drinking!
Here’s a map for you! I suggest saving it so you can easily find each location. ↑
As you can see, three of the spots are really close together and two places are further away. We suggest starting with one of the places that is further away, then go to the three spots close together, and if you are still up for more beer you can end with the last place which is further away. We set it up this way because of the opening hours of each place.
To get between the spots which are further away from each other you should take an Uber. Uber is in this gray area of legality at the moment, so definitely do a bit of Googling before you visit. It is by far the cheapest and best way to get around in downtown San Jose, but the government is talking about cracking down on Uber and making it illegal. If this has happened by the time you visit Costa Rica you will have to take a taxi between locations instead.
The three spots that are closer together are in a good neighborhood and you can easily walk between each spot.
Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about your first stop on the beer tour….Stiefel Pub!
Stiefel Pub – Stop #1
We suggest starting with Stiefel because they open earlier in the day than some of the other places on our tour.
This place doesn’t look overly inviting from the outside, but the inside is cozy and has a pub feel to it.
Daily from 11:30am- 2pm, 6pm – 2am.
Costa Rica Beer Factory – Stop #2
Costa Rica Beer Factory is the perfect next spot on your tour. You will probably want to take an Uber or taxi from Stiefel pub to here.
Just be warned, this place can get really full in the evenings. If you make it here a bit earlier in the day there are tons of different seating options.
Definitely try their own brews, but they do have a wide variety of other Costa Rica craft beers as well.
Open every day from 12 pm until at least 11 pm
You can find out more info about Costa Rica Beer Factory on their Facebook page.
Wilk Craft Beer – Stop #3
The third stop on your San Jose beer tour is also our favorite spot. Wilk Craft Beer is great because they have flight samplers. Not only that, but they let you choose any beer on their menu to be included in the sampler. And the best part is every sampler is only 3,500 colones. That comes out to less than $7 for five samples!
We may or may not have tried almost everything on the beer menu. 😉
This is the place I will take all my craft beer loving family next time they visit. It’s amazing!
Also, we only had tacos, but they were delicious and I have read on TripAdvisor that their burgers are the best.
Tuesday – Saturday: 4pm to 1am.
They are closed on Sunday and Monday
If you would like more info on Wilk Craft Beer you should check out their Facebook page.
Lupulus Beer Shop – Stop #4
This is the one place we visited on our beer tour that we weren’t actually huge fans of. First off, the menus are a bit confusing. They gave us a clipboard and then also a folded menu. We just looked at the clipboard menu because it said “drinks” on it. It was only after we ordered that we realized there were more beers on the folded menu.
Neither of us loved our beers.
The customer service was also subpar. It was a Saturday night and the place was nearly empty, but the waitresses were still incredibly slow.
However, we think you should still give this place a try. Maybe you will have a better experience than us. Plus, this is a beer tour. It’s not like you need to stay here all night. We think it is worth it to stop by and just try a beer.
If you go here let us know what you think of it. We’d love to hear your opinion.
Wednesday and Thursday: 6pm – 12am
Friday: 5pm – 12am
Saturday: 1pm – 12 am
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm
Hows that for some confusing hours?
You can find out more info on their website here.
CASA Brew Garden – Stop #5
Now it is time to grab another Uber and head to CASA Brew Garden. CASA is the place we ended up skipping because they opened a bit late and we were kind of beer-ed out. If you try it out let us know how you liked it!
Monday through Thursday 6pm to midnight
Friday and Saturdy 6pm until 2am
You can find out more info on their Facebook page here.
And that concludes your craft beer tour of San Jose. We hope you enjoyed it!
OK so that was probably way more info on Costa Rica beer than you ever needed in your life, but we’ve got to be thorough when it comes to the topic of alcohol! If you have any questions on any of these beers or breweries in Costa Rica, don’t hesitate to ask! Also, if you have a favorite Costa Rica brewery that we missed, we’d love if you’d pass that info on.
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