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Cerveza artesanal – liquid bliss

Argentina. The land of the tango, of football … and for some time now, also the land of craft beer. The second-largest country in South America had in recent years evolved into one of the best-known centres of the craft brewing scene. The centre of this boom is the coastal city of Mar del Plata. And that’s precisely where my colleague has spent the last six months. But let her tell you in her own words all the things she discovered there 🙂

Mar del Plata, also known as the “Happy City”, is located about five hours away from Buenos Aires. It is famous primarily for its magnificent beaches, its fish, and the delicious confection called alfajores. In recent years, however, Mar del Plata has been making a name for itself for a rather special reason: it has evolved into one of the premier drivers of the craft beer revolution in Argentina. You can meanwhile find more than 20 breweries and bars there in which an enormous range of craft beers in superlative quality are being brewed and sold.

The innumerable beer pubs in Mar del Plata have in recent years developed into the hotspots of the city’s night. Literally every day of the week, they delight their customers with foot-tapping music, often live performances as well, good food and a festive atmosphere. Quite early on, I noticed that the city’s “coolest” bars all have German names, like “Baum” (Tree), “Brüder” (Brothers), “Lecker” (Delicious”) or “Glück” (Happiness), and that there everyone went into raptures about the “cerveza artesanal”, the Argentinian name for craft beer. So in the very first week of my stay, I decided to try out this trend, and with a few Argentinian friends I visited the “Antares” bar and brewery, which is regarded as a pioneer of the craft brewing movement. The chain of bars and restaurants can meanwhile be found all over Argentina, with no fewer than four of them opened in the trendy districts of Mar del Plata. Besides the wide choice of craft beer types (Kölsch, Honeybeer, IPA, Barley Wine, Scotch etc.) you can also find a lot of German specialties.

Since this was my first time in Antares, I got to try some new beers straight away free of charge, namely Honey Beer, Barley Wine, Cream Stout und Scotch. The biggest surprise for me, though, was the Barley Wine, a mixture of wine and beer, which I at first approached with quite a bit of scepticism. But this ale, with its high abv (10 %!!) and its spicy taste, was definitely my thing. I also really liked the fruity Honey Beer   (7.5 %).

In order to maintain Mar del Plata’s new image as the capital of craft beer, loads of different events are organised all the year round. For example, Antares also offered interesting guided tours of the brewery, with beer tastings, which I of course signed up for along with some friends. Here, too, I was introduced to some types of beer I’d never encountered before.

The biggest highlight of my craft beer experiences in Mar del Plata was the annual Octoberfest, organised by the “Brüder” bar and brewery. (This bar, by the way, also has a proper beer garden!). So in the middle of Argentina’s spring I spent my first Oktoberfest on the beach. You can’t really compare the festival with the original one in Munich, but nevertheless the atmosphere as brilliant, and there was plenty of craft beer for everyone.

During these six months in Argentina, I definitely discovered my passion for craft beer. And every time I drank one with some friends, no matter whether it was in a pub, on a brewery tour, or at the beach, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The “Happy City” quite simply made me happy as well 🙂

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