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Panama Microbreweries – Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3 – Crafting Artisan Beer in Panama

Panamanians do love their beer, and master brewers are taking note. Here are some of their latest efforts toward introducing quality craft beers to the tropics.

Istmo Brew Pub, the first microbrewery to open in Panama City, has been in operation since 2005. Besides the international and domestic beers on their menu, they offer four home brews named after Panamanian provinces. Veraguas is a medium-bodied copper-color brew made with fine hops and a variety of malts; Cocle is a dark beer with a light coffee flavor made from roasted caramel and black malts; Colón is basically a pilsner malt lager; and finally there’s the golden caramel, malted Chiriqui with a touch of smoke. https://www.facebook.com/istmopub

La Rana Dorada, “The Golden Frog”, opened its first pub on Via Argentina in Panama City in 2010, and a second location in Casco Viejo in 2012. Master brewer Brad Kraus’ goals were simple – to provide Panama with new, locally-crafted artisan beers, and comfortable spots in which to enjoy them. Kraus has created four main beers for his venture in Panama, all with something of a European flavor: a German-style Pilsner, a British-style pale ale, a Belgian-style wit beer (which, according to reports, is the brewery’s most popular), and a London-style porter. http://www.laranadorada.com/

Panama’s Micro Brew Fest in March 2013 saw the introduction of two more newcomers to Panama City’s beer scene. Casa Bruja Brewing Companyhopes to be up to speed and in local bars by the end of 2013. They describe their beers as “very small production, trying new flavors and aromas, pushing the Panamanian palate – no rules!” Their current offerings include Sir Francis Imperial IPA (an imperial pale ale) and Chivoperro, and American-style IPA. https://www.facebook.com/casabrujabrewing

Cervecería Legítima is a labor of love by Peter Icaza, who studied in Berlin after his brewing hobby turned serious. He and his partner Carlos Ossa are currently working to open a new bar and restaurant combo. Icaza is experimenting with three types of beer: an IPA which is quite strong and heavy with a lot of hops; a Cooper IPA, 5. 9% alcohol, dry and not very sweet; and his Amber Ale, 7. 5% alcohol, light on the hops with a bit of malt for color. Their mainstays include Amber Ale (an American-style brown ale), Copper Indian Pale Ale (an Imperial Pale Ale), and Russian Imperial (a stout). https://www.facebook.com/CerveceriaLegitima

Finally, Bocas Brewing Company was founded in 2012 by partners Peter Wagener and Christian Maesel in Bocas del Toro. The eldest son of a German immigrant family, Brewmaster Peter had been making beer for years in the US. He sees similarities between brewing beer and his engineering days at Boeing and Siemens: “quality control, handling suppliers, attention to detail and yes…dealing with the Germans.” Bocas Brewery plans to sell both kegs and bottles to various locations, first in Bocas del Toro and later throughout Panama. All of their beers are unpasteurized, unfiltered and aged for a minimum of three weeks to improve flavor and carbonation.


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