Top Beers: Travel Edition (Canada, Chile and Argentina) with Messorem, Bodega Ergo, Strange and more
Those of you who follow our social media already know, that the founders of Zurich Beer Tour recently went on a 2-month trip to the Americas. Simona and Sandro spent a month in Canada traveling from Halifax all the way to Vancouver. From there, they took a plane south and spent another couple of weeks in the beautiful countries of Chile and Argentina. Obviously they came across many (by many we mean a lot of) amazing local craft beers. In this article we want to share some of our favorites with you, so you know what to drink if your own travels bring you to any of these countries. To make this even more helpful for fellow travelers, we will include not only the top beers but also more infos about the beer scenes of the places where we found them. Let's go!
Colorful Language Sour - 2 Crows Brewing (Halifax, NS)
This beer is only one of many great beers we tasted at our first stop on the trip: Halifax. The area has many great breweries but 2 Crows Brewing really stood out for us. Their taproom was only a five minutes walk from our hotel so we went there on several occasions. Colorful Language is a #foedre aged sour, brewed with marquette pomace and plums. It has a high level acidity, which is a turn off for some people, but for us (especially for Sandro) this is actually a big plus. The beer was layered and had a huge complexity to it, even though it had this strong #acidity upfront. We wanted to thank the guys who worked at 2 Crows taproom again, they were so helpful and friendly. This is a must when in Halifax.
Nova Scotia Beer Tips:
If you are looking for a city that has some really good breweries and is almost completely walkable, Halifax is a great city to get to know the Canadian beer scene. With the Stillwell Bar, they have one of the best craft beer bars in the province. They offer 12 amazing and mostly local taps, and also a really cool beer by the glass option, where you can get single pours of rather special bottles (when we were there it was a spontaneously fermented Lager and a #Grape Ale blended with 35% Cabernet Franc ) so you don't have to invest in a whole #bottle. Stillwell also has 2 other locations in Halifax, the Beergarden and the Freehouse, plus they also operate their own brewery in the city. Other breweries to look out for in NS other than 2 Crows would be Propeller brewing, Unfiltered Brewing, Good Robot Brewing and if you go over to Dartmouth you have to check out Brightwood Brewery.
Disparu Mais Toujours Là Wild Ale - Messorem Bracitorium (Montreal, QC)
This beer by Messorem Bracitorium from Montreal was literally one of the best Canadian Wild Ales we've ever had. It was brewed with butterfly pea flower (also known as blue tea) and lime. The beer has an amazingly floral note and a really nice amount of #funk. The lime is not to be tasted up front but hits you on the finish, making this beer an absolutely great #refresher. To be honest, every beer we had this night at Messorem would be worth mentioning in this article, they are one of the best rated breweries in Canada and this is for a reason. They brew a lot of #Hazy IPA/DIPA/TIPAs which are extremely tasty (and some of the haziest beers we've ever seen) and those are also the beers the brewery is famous for. Their taproom is also great, with an amazing beer garden and even live music from time to time. This is a great place to hang out. Just be informed that the place is not in a really central location, so we would recommend a cab to go there.
Québec Beer Tipps:
Québec has one of the most diverse and interesting beer scenes in Canada. With breweries influenced of modern North American style brewing, but also breweries focusing on French or Belgian style beers. One of the most famous breweries and a must visit in Montreal is Dieu du Ciel (which was sadly closed for renovations when we where there, but Sandro has been there in 2018). They brew amazing, Belgian inspired beers and also some great #hoppy stuff. Another great little pub is the Dispensaire Microbrasserie in the Plateau area of Montreal, which has a super nice location, surrounded by many other bars, restaurants and nightclubs. If you go to #Quebec City, you have to check out Noctem Artisans Brasseurs, we tasted many beers on their menu and we liked every single one of them (their "Catnip" core IPA was one of our favorites). They also serve some of the best food we ever ate in a brewery (Wapiti Sausages for Sandro and Butterfish Tataki for Simona), so this is worth checking out for many reasons.
There were so many more great beers in Canada, we could write a whole article about it. Leave us a comment here or on social if you would like us to do that!
OG DIPA - Tamango Brebajes (Santiago)
After a month staying in Canada, we finally made our way to South America. It was the first time ever being on this #continent for both of us so we did not really know what to expect (not only regarding the beer scene). We stayed in the Bellavista district and after a short research we found the one place to go for good beer in this district: Tamango bar. This really cool bar that also serves great looking food (we sadly didn't have the space to try it) has an amazing selection of their own beers. Especially all of the hoppy beers (and they had quite a few of them) were really good. The OG DIPA came with a great nose of tropical fruit, it reminded us of our visit in the #Fruteria earlier that day. The body was thick and the level of hoppiness out of this world, with even a bit hopburn left on the finish. This bar is definitely worth a visit.
Saison del '94 - Bodega Ergo (Santiago)
We found this amazing Grape Ale in an Italian Restaurant in Puerto Natales in Patagonia called La Finestre. The place used to be called "Brew Gallery" and focused on craft beers, but it looked like they rebranded the place, as craft beer is more for the tourists and the last 3 years were, let's say, not the most tourist friendly years. Anyway, they still offer a nice selection of local craft beers, and the most interesting ones were by a brewery called Bodega Ergo. This barrel aged sour was macerated on Carmenere grapes. The beer was amazingly complex, funky and had super #vinous taste, followed by a massive amount of oak. After a short chat via Instagram with the owner, Sandro found out he actually used to be a winemaker and just brewed beer as a hobby, but now has gotten really successful with brewing so he would consider it to be more than a hobby nowadays. This obviously explains why a lot of the Bodega Ergo beers are either brewed using #Grapes or barrel-aging in wine barrels. I hope one day these beers will be exported to Europe, because they are definitely something that should be more popular over here.
Chilean Beer Tipps:
As Chile is such a big country there are obviously a lot more great breweries and bars to check out. In Santiago we would recommend you to check out El Honesto Mike in Lastarria, they serve American style pub food and tons of local beers. Bar Rubik in barrio Italia was also an amazing find, offering local and international beers with some local favorites on the food menu. In Chilean #Patagonia you have to visit Bar Birra in Punta Arenas, with a cozy wooden interior and great pizzas, this place is perfect to recover after a long day fighting against the Patagonian wind. All in all there are many great breweries in Chile and we are looking forward to going back and get to know even more of them in the future.
Belgian Rumboll Stout - Macá Brouwerij (El Calafate)
We found this beer in a place that actually didn't have anything to do with craft beer. The Restaurant called "Morrison's" was right next to our apartment and on one rather lazy night we did not want to walk far to get dinner. So we decided to try this place and we are so happy we did. Not only did we experience one of the friendliest service in all Patagonia, but also they featured beers of the super local and super micro brewery Macá Brouwerij on their menu and they also actively recommended them to us (little did we know the brewer himself was sitting at the bar). All of their beers were great, but their Belgian Stout, a classic stout recipe #fermented with a Belgian yeast, was an amazing pairing with the #chocolate cake. As the stout "only" has 6.8% ABV, the Belgian yeast added a nice spiciness and some banana to the beer, which gave it a way more complex flavor profile than other stouts with this ABV usually have. All the best to the team of Morrison's and Macá, we really enjoyed our night!
Sobre Todo Nelson - Strange Brewing (Buenos Aires)
Our last stop in Argentina was the capital, Buenos Aires. And as you would expect of a city like this, the beer scene here is amazing. We found a lot of breweries ourselves, but we also had some help from Frank from Asado Tours who showed us around in some other districts. Our tour with Frank ended at Strange Brewing in the #Colegiales district. And this brewery soon became one of our favorites, not only in Argentina but of the whole trip. We decided to go for the single hop Nelson Sauvin IPA, fittingly called "Sobre Todo Nelson". Nelson Sauvin is one of Sandro's favorite hops, so this was the perfect beer. Flavors of gooseberry, grape and also some tropical fruit made this beer a perfect start at Strange. We tried many other beers after this one and none of them disappointed. Their huge selection included the usual hazy IPAs and imperial stouts, but they also had #experimental stuff like their "Vossa Nova" a German Bock brewed with Patagonian juniper and fermented with kveik yeast or many great sours and grape ales. A visit to Buenos Aires is not complete without a visit here.
Argentina Beer Tipps:
Another huge country with a really high quality craft beer scene. Besides the places we already mentioned we wanted to point out La Zorra Taproom in El Calafate, which is a bit #touristy but they have great burgers and also great beers. In Buenos Aires there are so many places, that we can't mention all of them here (again, shoot us a message or leave a comment if you would like to read an article about that), but some places we want to recommend are Desarmadero and Desarmadero Session, these bars in Palermo, that obviously belong together, are just across the street from each other (so you will always find a seat in one of them) and feature huge tap lists and bottle/can selections. Just a couple of meters down the road you can find Bronson Brewing Taproom, which has a really artsy/hipstery vibe to it, with a lot of great beers that you can enjoy with a view of their brewhouse.
These were some of our favorite beers and places from our recent trip and as we mentioned, there is obviously a lot more.
Let us know in the comments if you want more recommendations for any of these places. Also, give is a heads up if you went to one of the places and how you liked it.
Stay tuned for our future recommendations!
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