The Craft Beer Festival is back for a third go-round, again being held at Avenida Escazú, again including small-scale brewers from all over Costa Rica.
The April 5 festival (that’s this Saturday!) will bring more than 32 craft beers to the lips of brew enthusiasts, beginning at 11 a.m and concluding at 5 p.m. More than 2,000 people are expected to show up to the event, which is run by the Costa Rican Craft Brewer’s Association and sponsored by Product C restaurants. In addition to delicious alcohol, there will be live music, beer seminars, food and home brewing contests.
The festival, which we attend every year, is perhaps the most fun way to celebrate Costa Rica’s growing passion for craft beer. “Less than three years ago, this festival was still just an idea fostered solely by the excitement and creativity of a handful of home-brewers and enthusiasts,” said Courtney Cargill, board member of the Costa Rican Craft Brewers Association and an avid brewer. “Each year, this event has exceeded our expectations with respect to the public’s interest as well as the high quality and great variety of beer available.”
This year, visitors will sample crisp, wheat, dark and richly-bodied beers, along with others made with roasted barley. Some will have been aged in oak barrels for more than a year, and other Costa Rica-themed concoctions will include ingredients such as coffee, honey and mango.
For those who aren’t totally sure what a craft beer is, Costa Rican Craft Brewers Association President Luis Arce will be on hand to explain. “A craft beer is a beer produced on a small scale that uses natural ingredients, with a focus on intense aromas and flavors to give a gourmet experience to the palate,” he said. “The experimentation in the use of these natural ingredients is its calling card.”
The festival this year will feature a home brewing contest especially for brewing hobbyists, who will compete by entering a brew crafted in an internationally recognized beer style, a Pale Ale or Pilsner for example. They will be judged on their adherence to the styles guidelines. The tournament is governed by the rules of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), an international nonprofit institution that organizes similar events around the world.
“The Craft Beer Festival represents the best chance for all beer lovers, those experienced and those who are just learning about craft beers, to taste the different styles of beer produced in Costa Rica,” said Stefano Marin, lead brewer at Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company. “[It’s] putting Costa Rica on the map of world beers.”
Entry to the festival is ₡16,000 ($30) and tickets can only be purchased in advance at authorized locations, which include Product C (Avenida Escazú, 2288-5570, www.product-c.com), Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company (800 meters west of Riteve in Tejar de Cartago, 2573-3724, www.beer.cr), TicoBirra (diagonal from the Artística on Pavas’ main highway, 2296-3486, www.ticobirra.com), La Bodega de Chema (125 Sur Casa Italia, Av 10, Calle 29, 2280-7339, www.bodegadechema.com), TreintayCinco (800 meters north of the bridge of Multiplaza Escazú 2213-7675. http://www.treintaycinco.net, Bar el Gaff (Calle 29, Avenida 10, Los Yoses, 2234-1596, https://www.facebook.com/ElGaff).
With admission, participants will have access to beer seminars, live music and a tasting round, which includes up to 20 samples. Festival rules and regulations can be found at www.FestivalCervezaArtesanal.com.