Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Brewpubs (Page 2 of 3)

Another opening: Loma Brewing in Los Gatos (CA)

Loma Brewing Co. has announced the opening of its brewery and pub in downtown Los Gatos on Thursday, August 18th.

Details can be found at  the brewery’s website:

Barranco Beer Company (Lima, Peru)



Opened in 2014, Barranco Beer Company’s brewpub has been a resounding success.  From selling 50 liters of beer on their first night, beer sales are now in the range of 20 bbl per month, with weekend sales reaching s/. 7000, according to Rommel, one of the managers


The initial lineup of beers has been expanded and refined.   Some favorites, like the “Presidente” heffeweizen” –renamed” Jefe Weiss”– have been retained, others -like the dunkel– have been dropped.   In their place are new recipes for pale ales, IPA, and lagers.
Two years ago I lamented the absence of “heavier”, “chewier” beers in their lineup.  I must not have been the only one asking for them, as Barranco now offers at least one porter and has just released “Saca Tu Machete”, an excellent 8.7% abv / 42 IBU imperial stout made with aji limo, cacao, and algarrobina.




Another beer that is worth mentioning, and one I hope they make part of their regular lineup, even if only seasonally, is the Pepino Punch saison.  Made with pepino fruit, Pepino Punch is easily one of the best fruited beers I’ve ever tasted.

Barranco Beer Company
Av Almirante Miguel Grau 308
Barranco, Lima

Southern Pacific Brewing

Finding myself  in San Francisco on a chilly April Sunday, I went in search of lunch and a good beer. Tucked away into a quiet corner of the Mission District, on Treat Ave, Southern Pacific Brewing was a welcome and pleasant discovery.

The brewery and bar and grill all occupy a large warehouse space whose large windows, lots of skylights and high ceiling provide lots of light and give a sense openness.  There is enough light in fact to support a couple of trees growing in the restaurant area.  Despite the name, the decor and ambience is not particularly train-oriented –which could be a relief to some, and a disappointment to others.

I found the beer I had to be quite good.  Of the two I specially enjoyed the Belgian Blonde.  It had a nice Belgian character without being overly fruity or spicy.   I also tried the Barrel Aged Blend. It was not particularly oaky or sour, which is kind of what I had been expecting, but I did enjoy it as well.  I think they told me it was aged in a Chardonnay barrel, but I may be wrong about that.

I wish I had tried some of the other beers to get a fuller picture of their brews –as it turned out the Belgian Blonde was a major part of what went into the barrel, so the flavor profile of both beers I tried was pretty similar– but being alone and facing a long drive home I had to limit myself.

In any case, it would certainly be worth a return trip when in the neighborhood.



Southern Pacific Brewing Co.
620 Treat Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Brewery

At the beginning of the month I had the chance to travel to North Carolina and to visit several beer spots in the “Triangle” while there.  The first of these was the Carolina Brewery in downtown Chapel Hill.

I had spotted the brewery on Franklin Street, Chape Hill’s main street, on my way out of town, and so headed straight there when I was done that afternoon. I had spent the morning touring an old plantation’s historic buildings, and the weather was warm and sunny.  Thus, I was in need of some lunch and a good beer while I waited to meet up with my daughter.

The Carolina Brewery has two locations, this one in Chapel Hill, and a second one in Pittsboro, NC. The Chapel Hill brewpub, which opened in 1995 and currently has about a seventy barrel capacity, is the original and remains the flagship, even though the Pittsboro facility is able to produce a bit more beer.

One nice aspect of the Chapel Hill brewpub is that the kettles and fermenters are right there, in front of the customers, just on the other side of the bar, and not separated by glass as in so many other places.  This means that one can drink a pint while admiring the beautiful Czech-made copper and brass kettles, and  listening to the CO2 bubbling from the fermenters’ blow-off tubes.

The beers are good, too. I particularly enjoyed the Baltic Anomaly porter (7.7% ABV), which is brewed with Saaz and Fuggle hops (33 IBU), and the Flagship IPA, made with Chinook and Cascade hops (5.9% ABV, 66 IBU).

When I was there, I was able to taste their Triple S lager straight from the fermenter, as it was being filtered and transferred into the serving tanks in the basement for lagering until its release in May.  Of course it was flat, and a bit warm, but I could tell that it was going to be a danged tasty beer when it was done.

Carolina Brewery and Grill
460 W. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Cerveza Hops (Lima – Peru)

The first craft brewery I visited on this trip was actually Hops in Lima’s Pueblo Libre district, just down the street from the Queirolo tavern and kitty-corner across the plaza from the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum.


Hops does not seem to emphasize its beer production side very much, but rather seems to have put its focus on its role as a multi-story discotheque and event space, with a brew-on-premises pub and restaurant included.   For example, the fermentation tanks are visible to the public, but are located on a second story and in a part of the building that, while open, is not utilized during the day.
That is too bad, because one of the challenges that craft brewers have in Peru is overcoming Peruvians’ unfamiliarity with brewing and beer styles other than Pilsner-style lagers and dark lagers, and educating the public on them can only help the craft beer market grow.  And I think people would be interested, and that in itself would draw more customers.
The house beer menu
In any case, Hops has a decent selection of house beers brewed right on the premises, and even claims to have Peru’s first and, so far, only beer made with  smoked malt.
Unfortunately, they were out of the Smoked beer and of both the Bock and the Stout, on the day I visited, but I did get to try some of the others.
The beers were nice.  Not as good as what we’d expect from a quality craft brewery here in the US, but definitely drinkable and enjoyable.  We must remember that the craft brewing scene in Peru is very new and ingredients –particularly hop varieties and specialty yeast strains– are hard to come by.  Given those constraints Hops deserves to be commended for being one of the pioneers of craft brewing in Lima, having been established nine years ago.



After enjoying the Pale in the afternoon, with lunch, I returned in the evening to sample more accompanied by my dad.
I liked all the beers I tried, but I particularly liked the Dunkel. It could easily have been a lager with some color added, but instead it had more body and a slight roasted character which I liked and, actually, was looking for (I had really wanted to try the stout).
Pale ale
Wheat beer

Av. General Manuel Vivanco 785
Pueblo Libre, Lima

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