With all that’s happening with craft beer in the U.S., it’s easy to overlook the influence the movement is having on the world stage. Today, microbreweries can be found in every continent across the globe. Plucky young entrepreneurs are navigating complicated liquor laws to start breweries in their local communities, sometimes partnering with American expats who are longing for the flavorful styles brewed in the States.
Follow The Growler as we globe-trot across each of the seven continents to find out how beer has been a transforming force in cities, regions, and communities.
North America – Mexico City, Mexico
By Matt Gilmore
The midnight black Russian imperial stout with its persistent cappuccino-colored head tasted just like it smelled: Huge chocolate notes backed by coffee, dark fruits, bitter hops, and anise coated my palate. My tongue tingled from the 12 percent ABV advertised on the placard hanging behind the bartender in the small stand on the crowded exposition floor.
This beer, and many others poured by the 100-plus brewery vendors at the Mexican beer exposition in the World Trade Center Mexico City, blew me away. Far from the lagers most U.S. drinkers would associate with Mexican brewing, these brews represented every major style of beer.
Just days before I had attended Copa Cerveza Mexico, the largest craft beer competition in the country, as a judge and now found myself talking with brewers representing the various beers I had helped rank. Read More…
South America – Quito, Ecuador
By Eric Goldschein
South America’s first brewery was founded in Quito, Ecuador by a Franciscan friar accustomed to drinking beer with his meals. In the 1500s, alcohol in this part of the world came mostly in the form of fermented corn drinks, such as chicha, which can still be found in roadside restaurants and traditional homesteads. For the European priests who had come to spread the gospel, this simply would not do. Only a golden brew would suffice.
Today, foreigners are still influencing Ecuador’s beer scene, and bringing cerveza artesanal to the forefront. In Quito, American expats, who missed their hometown IPAs, opened Bandido Brewing, which is perhaps the heart of Quito’s small but boisterous cerveza artesanal, or craft beer, scene.
Coincidentally, Bandido is located in an old church on the fringes of Quito’s Old Town. While the building’s main tenant is the brewery, the pews are still there, as are golden crosses on whitewashed walls, and the building occasionally closes for private religious services. Read More…
Africa – Cape Town, South Africa
By Lucy Corne
Tucked away in the southwest corner of the African continent, Cape Town is known as the Mother City, and it is here that the South African craft beer scene was born just a few short years ago. Rewind a decade and you would have found a sole microbrewery in the beautiful coastal city. Today there are around 19, plus a half-dozen contract brands and several new breweries on the way.
Although microbreweries have existed in South Africa since the ‘80s, the first rumblings of a beer revolution happened here in late 2007, when South African-Canadian couple Ross and Meghan McCulloch set up Jack Black’s Brewing Co., a contract brewery serving that served a malty lager. In 2016, Jack Black’s finally opened its own premises in the southern suburbs of Cape Town—a warehouse-like building home to a 25-barrel brewhouse. In South Africa’s burgeoning beer scene, this is one of the largest craft breweries in the country. As well as the flagship Brewers Lager, Jack Black’s young brewing team produces a range of beers, including an unfiltered Pilsner and an American-style IPA.
Closer to the city center, in a semi-industrial area found in a permanent state of gentrification, a cluster of cutting-edge breweries welcome beer geeks, tourists, bearded hipsters and the thirsty public. Read More…
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