For 15 years (approximately in 2005), it started the craft beers business in Panama.
In addition to being able to buy them and taste them in their own bars, for a few years they can also be purchased in supermarkets, some of these have international awards.
I went to different supermarkets to see which ones was on sale and also buy some.
One of the things that I liked is that most have IBU (International Bittering Unites) that indicates the scale of bitterness, the higher the more bitter, which for me is great, because I don’t like very bitter, so I can get an idea of it before testing it.
Next, I will tell you about 7 brands that I found in the supermarket, which have several types of beer, I found some, others perhaps only sell it in their bars or were out of stock.
1. Central (Central Brewery)
Of this brand I found Guachiman, Mangose, River Down Ale, Veranera, Lagertija and India Dormida in the supermarket. Another of the beers they have is Bocas Town.
I tried Veranera with an 18 IBU, 4.5% alcohol, it is a Witbier, it has a soft golden color, with a white foam, it feels a bit citrusy, it is quite light.
2. Clandestina (Clandestina Brewery)
In the supermarket I found Intrigue, Ley Seca (English Pale Ale), Rapiña Nomada, Xa´madre.
Others they have are Guerra Fria, Malambo, Madhammer, Malek Hoppy Pils and they also have one called Vela Negra, created together with Rana Dorada.
All of these have the IBU listed on the bottle, which is great.
I decided to try Intriga (13 IBU, 5.2% alcohol) is a Witbier style beer (Belgian wheat), which in fact is a beer that in 2018 won the Bronze at Beer Indie Fest in Costa Rica and in 2017 it was It also took Bronze in the Beers of America Cup in Chile, it has a pale golden color, it is super foamy and creamy (careful, if you are going to drink it in a glass, hehe), it has a slight citrus flavor, I could easily have several.
3. Casa Bruja (Casa Bruja Brewery)
This is one of the craft breweries, which I believe is the one with the most variety, they constantly innovate and it is excellent that we can find some of them in supermarkets, they also have more than 40 international medals.
Some of the ones I found were: Fula, Tres Tristes Tigres (like the tongue twister), Chitra, Chivo Perro and Sir Francis.
Others they have are: Talingo, Gose Frambuesa, Gose Limón Kaffir, Gose Guayaba, Gose Guanabana, Sandokan, Macho De Monte, Madretambor, Wilson, Astro Lager, Festbier, Singular Chinnok, Singular Kohatu, Singular Huell-Melon, Tulivieja, Tajada de Sandía, Hijo de Lindbergh, Flower Sour, Dr. Brujaus, Bruja Insurgente, Cholo Metal, AzraAle, Le Brut, Demencia, Psico-Tropical, Tiny Winey, Paso Canoas, Red Ink, Brujería (ediciones limitadas, cada, cambia cada cierto), Mango Biche, Vintage Delée, Margarita, Sereno, Diez Manos, Condado del Rey, San Francisco, Nombre De Dios- Patente De Corso and MaicroMachín.
This time I tried the Fula a Blonde Ale, light golden in color, with an 14 IBU and 4.7% alcohol, of the ones I tried for this post, this was the one that I felt the most bitter and alcohol was felt the most, despite not being the one with the highest IBU and % alcohol.
This beer has won awards from 2015 to 2018, it has won gold in England, Chile and Spain and also in England it won the best Kölsch in America at the World Beer Awards.
I think it is one of the best known brands in Craft Beers or at least it was the first one I met, thanks to its pub bar in Casco Viejo.
It is considered one of the pioneers in Craft Brewery in Panama and from what I investigated, it has more than 10 years in the market. In addition, they also have several awards internationally.
They are available in cans at the supermarket, among which I saw were Pils, Pale Ale, Grand Cru and Blanche.
Other beers they have are: Radler, Porter, IPA and Crowler Honey Berry.
I have already had the pleasure of trying the vast majority and one of the ones I like is Blanche (18 IBU and 4.5% alcohol), golden, smooth, refreshing and with a mild citrus flavor.
And from what I read, this is the best-selling beer of them.
Here are some brands of craft beers that I saw on the Riba Smith Supermarket site web, but that I did not find during my visit:
5. La Murga
In addition, from the Riba Smith, on the beer social networks, they indicate that they also have an alliance with El machetazo, so we must also be able to find them there.
These are the ones you can get at the supermarket
- Calypso (Hoppy Lager) and
- Encantada (Belgian Pale Ale).
Others they have are
- Pasionada (IPA),
- Atrevida (Kölsch) and
- Noctambula (English Porter).
One of those that you can buy in the supermarket is Catalina Blonde (18B: Pale American Ale- Blonde Ale, 25 IBU, 5.5% alcohol).
It also has others like
- Etnia: 8B: Dark European Lager- Schwarzbier, 21 IBU, 5% alcohol,
- Palente: 25B: Strong Belgian Ale – Saison, 31 IBU, 6.5% alcohol and
- And a new one is Nina Strawberry Sour: Catharina Sour, 8 IBU, 4.3% alcohol.
7. Boquete Brewing Company
This Chirican brewery offers us in the Supermarket, Agua Selva is an American Brown Ale with 6% alcohol.
The brewery also has others craft beers like Smash, Mudate o Muerete, La Coima, Bird Song, Hammock Time, Wood Moring, and Portergeist.
More Information of Craft Beers
In Panama, there are other brands of craft beers, however, some have not yet been marketed in places outside of their own bars and it may also be that some of them were sold out by the time I went to the supermarkets.
It is interesting the names the craft beers have, evoke common things and words in Panama or that are part of our identity and culture.
You are probably like me, who only know about beer that there are some more bitter than others and others that have more alcohol than others.
However, it is a whole world, they have different colors, styles, ingredients and probably processes and fermentation.
While researching a bit about what craft beers are in Panama and thus knowing what to look for in the supermarket, I learned a little about them, example within the styles are:
- Witbier (a style of Belgian beer),
- Russian Imperial stout
- Among others,
I also learned that bitterness is read in IBU and probably does not define the alcohol level, plus they can have a variety of flavors and aromas, not just the classic flavors of commercial beers.
I recommend, on your next visit to the supermarket, go to the beer section and try some of the Craft Beers.
And although I am definitely not an expert and my knowledge is very little, perhaps this little guide could help you.
- Witbier (one of the Belgian styles): soft, clear, tends to be slightly bitter, has a lot of foam and has a citrus flavor. If you are not very beer brewers and want to try a craft, I recommend that you choose a Witbier.
- IPA (India Pale Ale): bitter, high alcohol level and intense aroma.
- Stout: it is an Ale, dark, bitter, made with roasted barley malt, it usually has a high level of alcohol.
- Brown Ale: an Ale style, with an intense flavor, you can feel flavors of caramel and chocolate and in other cases some citrus flavors.
- Porter: it is an type of Ale, dark in color, intense flavor and usually has a medium % alcohol.
- Pilsner: it is a type of Lager beer, light in color with a medium alcohol level, bitter, with long-lasting foam.
- Gose: salty beer, it can be citric and almost without bitterness, although it has a low level of alcohol, the ones I have seen have a medium level.
- Kösch: mild flavor, low to medium bitterness, very little foam, medium alcohol level.
There are other styles and sub-styles, this is only an orientation guide, which can help you select one and thus try a craft beer.
The costs can vary between $ 1.60 and $ 1.40, they cost a little more than the non-craft national ones, but it must be taken into account that they are small-scale productions, they are also of very good quality, that is why many of them have won awards.
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