The inevitable beer evaluation continues, this time I take a look at the beers of Argentina. If you missed out on the beers of Uruguay, click here to catch up. In total I was able to sample three Artesanal and eight Mainstream beers from five different breweries in Argentina. As you've guessed it, it was sometimes not that easy, because Argentina is somehow a wine country, but I managed anyway.
Craft breweries are very much in fashion, Argentina makes no difference. Two breweries made it into this list:
- Patagonia - With hops and water from the Valle del Río Negro this Cerveza Artesanal distinguishes itself from its contenders by the solely use of carefully selected ingredients. As far as I know it is from the city of Neuquén. I was able to try the "Amber Lager" and "Bohemian Pilsener". There exists one additional flavor, the "Weisse".
- Me Echo La Burra - This is a Cerveza Artesanal which is brewed after a Belgian brewing tradition in the brewery of the casa de campo La Vaca Tranquila, near the town of San Carlos in the province of Mendoza. It comes in eight different varieties: "Rubia", "Roja", "Negra", "Real", "Blanca de Trigo", "La Pecadora", "La Doma" and "San Lunes". I tested the "Rubia".
There are several different big breweries in Argentina, some distribute their beer in whole Argentina, others only in certain parts. I encountered those three during my trip:
- Quilmes - Quilmes is probably the most widespread beer brand in Argentina, holding a market share of up to 75%. It is brewed by the Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes in the town of Quilmes near Buenos Aires. It was founded by Otto Bemberg, an immigrant from Germany. Currently the portfolio features the following products: "Cristal", "Bajo Cero", "Lieber", "Night", "Bock", "Stout" (all under the Quilmes label), and several other brands, among them: Andes, Norte and Iguana. I tried the "Cristal" (a lager) and the "Night" (a strong lager).
- Santa Fe, Schneider, Salta & Imperial - The brewery Cervecería Santa Fe operates from Santa Fe and Salta. The main product of the brewery is a beer with the brand name Santa Fe. I saw and tested only one flavor, the "Santa Fe Rubia". The Schneider is another beer brand of the brewery, according to several sources, Otto Schneider, another immigrant from Germany, started working in the Cervecería Santa Fe in 1912 and created a beer after a German brewing tradition. Afterwards he founded his own brewing company which later got incorporated by the Cervecería Santa Fe (but the sources are not completely clear about that). I encountered and tested only one type of Schneider, the "Schneider Lager". Salta is the third brand of the brewery. Originally from the city of Salta it got also somehow incorporated into the Cervecería Santa Fe. The Salta comes in two flavors: "Salta Rubia" and "Salta Negra", I tested both of them. The last beer brand I got to know from this brewery is Imperial, I got my hands on an "Imperial Lager".
- Isenbeck - According to my research this beer brand is brewed in a brewery in Buenos Aires. Apparently a multi-national-conglomerate bought the brewery but left the brand intact. The only type I saw and tested was the "Isenbeck Malta".
And the winner is...
In the category Cerveza Artesanal the trophy goes to Me Echo La Burra Rubia, a really fine and strong beer, complete and full in taste. Salta Rubia wins in the category Cerveza Popular, a fresh lager which outperforms all other mainstream beers regarding taste and color.