Craft beer in Ecuador

Discussion in 'South America' started by stevepat, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (452) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Just got back from a ten day trip to Ecuador, spent most of the time in Quito, and was traveling with a friend who has been spending long periods of time in the country for the last 6 years. Quito's craft beer scene is decent and he tells me that it is really exploding and you can finally reliably get craft beer that is decent and occasionally legitimately tasty.

    The two best places we tried were ABYSMO brewpub which had, in my opinion, the best overall lineup of beers. Their stout was a proper stout (rare in a country where most dark beers taste like brown or black lagers), their dunkel was downright delicious, and their IPA was by far the best I had down there. Be sure to ask about beers they have on tap that aren't on the menu as we noticed a couple of enticing tap handles that looked like seasonals that we were never told about. (Ecuador as a rule seems to have a really hard time with the concept of the menu, many times we were given food menus that were about 80% erroneous and several places failed to mention that had beers other than Pilsener and Club until we specifically asked). The food looked good too but we didn't eat there. The other spot was Bandidos del Paramo which is a collaboration between Bandidos brewing (one of the more common bottled craft beer companies who make solid brews) and a german style brewer from the coast whose name I can't recall. They tap Bandidos brews as well as the house labeled Paramo brewing beers as well as some Hofbrau beers, they also had some other german imports in bottles and cans. Paramo beers were very good, the Cacao Stout was a really amazing and genuinely Ecuadorian beer just bursting with cacao and coffer bitterness and a slight peppery bite. They also made a delightfully smoothe oatmeal stout. There was a lot more on the board that I didnt get to try but that looked good. The food there is also tasty.

    In the more touristy mariscal foshe district there are a couple of gems worth stopping in at. Cerveceria Cherusker makes decent beers that are super fairly priced. A piquenito glass (12 oz probably) is 2.50 or 2.75 and the atmosphere of their space is great. Right across the street from them there is a place called Indie Beer co that does a little brewing but also taps and has bottles of a bunch of Ecuadorian brewers. It's a great spot to get a taste of everything Ecuador has to offer beer wise.

    Lastly, some bottles to look out for are the Quitena brand. Their stout was probably the single best beer I had on my visit and their IPA was decent as well (best IPA i had until I went to Abysmo, but there's not a lot of competition). And anything brewed by Caran. Caran says they use water from a special aquefer deep in the heart of some volcano and their labeling is pretty swank, their bottles are nice swingtops and their porter was another contender for best brew of the trip.

    There is also an annual festival at a place called Viva Cerveza (a pretty overpriced little bottle shop cafe thing in a fancy part of town) that looks like it would probably be fun if you are around in October. Quito is a great city and hunting around to the beer spots is a decent way to find different night spot districts. My guess is that within the decade Ecuador will be cranking out some world class beers.
  2. jfh

    jfh Initiate (134) Apr 25, 2008 California

    Thanks! will be there in a few days and can hopefully use your intel.
  3. jfh

    jfh Initiate (134) Apr 25, 2008 California

    Just got back. Stayed at Hilton Colon for a couple days (right next to Parque El Ejido). Walked to both Abysmo and Banditos de Paramo. Both worth investigating. Food at Banditos very good, we had a caprese salad that was tasty plus wings and fries. In both spots, a mix of english speaking likely US tourists and natives. Banditos is in an upscale neighborhood with nice looking houses and shops to look at as you walk. Didn't hit any grocery stores or bottle shops, we were headed to Galapagos. Generally speaking bottles of lager available everywhere. At the airport, I bought a Latitude Cero American Pale Ale that was more sweet malty than I would like.
  4. giediprime41

    giediprime41 Initiate (113) Nov 25, 2015 Florida

    If you ever return to Ecuador my favorite place is Shaman artisanal ales in Quito.
    Their vanilla stout (regression) and blackberry ale (elixir) are both very good.
    Plus you can buy bottles of all their beers at a good price.
  5. MorningDew72

    MorningDew72 Initiate (44) Aug 15, 2014 Washington

    This is bringing back some great memories.

    My wife and I were in Ecuador for 3 weeks in 2015 backpacking around the country. I think we tried maybe 3 or 4 "craft" breweries, nothing to write home about then. Quito>coast (Canoa, Puerto Lopez, Ayampe)>Cuenca>Quilotoa Loop>Mindo (via Quito)>Quito.

    We stopped at Bandidos in Quito first day, had a great time. Owners were from Portland Oregon. Also definitely caught a pretty good buzz after 2 pints and altitude, coming from less than 1000 feet. Those beers were my favorites. Had an IPA that actually tasted pretty decent.

    Went to some brewery in the downtown area of Cuenca that had terrible beer, but we had a fun time playing backgammon, cool space.

    Went to Cherusker the 1 night we stayed in gringolandia in Quito. Very underwhelming but the place was packed and it was in a cool building.

    Los 3 Monjes was apparently a Quito brewery but didn't have a tasting room. There was some place in an off the beaten path neighborhood that you could buy their bottles, so we went for the hell of it. It was on the 2nd floor of some ghetto looking shopping center and it took us a few back and forths on the sidewalk trying to figure out where this place was. Finally found it, it was basically a small convenient store. They were really surprised we were asking for the beer lol. Guess they didn't get too many tourists coming in there for the beer. The 2 bottles we had were pretty solid considering we were kind of expecting it to be bad.

    I'll try and upload some old pics when I have the time. Ecuador is such an awesome country.

    We did all our traveling on the cheapest public transit. We took a redeye bus to the coast to start off the trip. It was so nerveracking getting on the late night bus to the main bus center in Quito. We had our bigass backpacks on and almost had the back bus door close on it as it was pulling away. We weren't even sure we were on the right bus, but our compass told us we were going south in the right direction haha.

    I got so sick of Pilsener by the end of the trip...still am reminded by it every time I wear my El Nacional jersey!
    stevepat likes this.
  6. MorningDew72

    MorningDew72 Initiate (44) Aug 15, 2014 Washington

    Here's some pics I found

    The building in the back, and one of those units on the 2nd floor is where we had to go to find 3 monjes. I think we found out about in on Beer Advocate if I recall correctly. I completely forgot about this, but we were hanging out in the park and this bee man came and cut down a large bee hive. Quite a public spectacle, everybody cheered. Fun times!
    stevepat likes this.
  7. whatruDOINdragic

    whatruDOINdragic Initiate (137) Aug 22, 2013 Illinois

    In Guayaquil with the wife’s side of the family for the holidays and planning to go to Odisea tomorrow. I know that the beer scene, to the extent there is one in Ecuador, is bigger in Quito than Guayaquil. Family says there’s been an explosion of breweries here lately, though, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Will report back.
    Redrover likes this.
  8. Gowanusjay

    Gowanusjay Initiate (15) Aug 1, 2018 New York

    Find anything worth checking out? El tap and the beerman shop in Guayaquil get some decent stuff. El tap rotates a few times a week which is nice. Still tough to find much though after being spoiled with all the top notch beer back on the east coast in the states.
    whatruDOINdragic likes this.
  9. whatruDOINdragic

    whatruDOINdragic Initiate (137) Aug 22, 2013 Illinois

    Unfortunately did not make it to Odisea; instead we went to Republica de la Cerveza, which was . . . not good. I don't recall everything we tried but the worst were a DIPA that was either just flat terrible or so old there were no remaining hops, and some form of stout (Russian name indicating a RIS yet super thin with little malt taste). The best were some form of Belgian style they had on tap and Odisea's Kraken from a bottle. I'm no expert but I thought the place might have dirty/old tap lines--nothing we had on tap was good.
    stevepat likes this.