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

Category: Events Page 1 of 4

Peru Craft Brewers Congress

On Saturday the Peruvian 5th National Craft Brewers Congress was held. Naturally, due to the pandemic, this year’s edition of the congress was move online and streamed over FaceBook. As usual, the emphasis was on connecting Peruvian brewers with other Latin American brewers.

This year’s guest speakers were:

José Bini, of Buenos Aires’ Bierhaus Brewing Co., who spoke on “Infinite Reutilization of Yeast in an IPA”.

  • Dora Durán, co-founder of MUt Cerveza Artesanal in Quito. Duran is also the Director of the Independent Beer Association of Ecuador (Asocerv), and a co-founder of Latin American Women Brewers’ Network. She spoke on “Tips for Making Good Lagers: Processes and Innovation”.


  • Jaime Zuluaga, co-founder and brewer of the Costa Rica Beer Factory and head of the CRBF Beer School, a project started two years ago and which now has nine instructors and some 400 graduates. Zuluaga spoke on “Pastry Beers, Fruit, and More”.

The sessions were moderated by Pepe Villarán (Psycho Brewery, Planeta Bierra), Elizabeth Yenny (Ari-Qquepay brewery, chairperson of Peruvian Craft Meadmakers Association), Rodrigo Vargas (homebrewer), and the overall host was Andrea Huerta (head of quality control at Barranco Beer Company, Pinks Boots Perú).

SF Beer Week Opening Gala

Last Friday I got to attend the SF Beer Week Opening Gala again, courtesy of the SF Bay Area Brewers Guild. Once again, it was a blast; a true showcase of the greater Bay Area’s best brews and breweries, and a testament to why the Bay Area is a leader in the US craft beer scene.

Of course, every participating brewery strives to bring their biggest and best, often SF Beer Week -specific releases. One such is the excellent Tres Diablos triple IPA, from Danville Brewing Company, brewed by my friend Matt Sager.

Another awesome big beer was Cataclysm triple IPA by the good folk at Concord’s Epidemic Ales. The bitterness is balanced by a pleasant sweetness, and a surprising note of strawberry!

Another brewery I was pleased to run into was Ocean View Brew Works from Albany. I met them last year, when they were about to celebrate their first anniversary. Well, on Sunday they celebrated number two with a big party at the brewery. I’m happy to hear that things are going well for them.

As last year, I made an effort to get to know breweries I had not heard of before, and I was not disappointed. I had some lovely beers and met some awesome, passionate, dedicated brewers.

I’m sure that many have heard of East Brother Brewing, Barrel Brothers Brewing, and even of Asian Brothers Brewing. Well, now there is the other brother: Other Brewer Beer Co.! Other Brother is a 15-bbl brewery located in Seaside. They’ve been open just 3 months. They brought All That the Grain Promises (and More…), a tasty 6.8% abv red ale. As they told me, “Hoppy is in our blood!”

Another pleasant encounter was the 1-year old Kelly Brewing Co. from Morgan Hill. They are still relatively small, at 7bbl kettles, but they are putting out some nice beers. I quite liked their Kelly Light, an almost lager-like golden ale that would come really nicely on a warm day.

Since I left Santa Cruz in the mid-1990s, the then incipient craft beer scene has exploded, particularly in recent years. One of the newest additions, I discovered, is to be Woodhouse Blending & Brewing , on River St in downtown. Woodhouse is 10bbl brewery run by Mike Rodriguez, formerly of Lost Abbey Brewing in San Diego. Mike said their tap house is scheduled to open in March and that he is planning on starting a barrel program in the near future.

Not too far away, in Scotts Valley, is Steel Bonnet Brewing Co. They produce, they said, “about half and half” English and American styles. They brought along the tasty, and cleverly-named, Kiss Me, Hardy, a 7.7% English IPA made with malts from Alameda’s Admiral Maltings and, of course, British hops. They told me that though they are currently a 7bbl-capacity brewery, they will soon be expanding to 30bbl.

And, a special treat was hanging out and talking with the guys from Cloverdale’s upcoming Wolf House Brewing. They’ve been brewing quite a a bit, but are in the midst of putting in the hard work of getting their pub into shape for an opening in the next couple of months. Hopefully by the end of March, or April.

When the pub opens, Dwayne Moran, will run the kitchen. Kevin Lovett, who has been in the industry for years, including a stint at the Mendocino Brewing Company, is running the brewhouse and turning out some tasty beer, as evidenced by their Gala offerings.

And, of course, this year there was the added treat of seeing the original Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewhouse cobbled together by founders Ken Grosman and Paul Camusi back in 1980. That brewhouse was sold to Mad River Brewing in 1989. In 2018 Grosman bought it back from Mad River, moved it back to Chico, and had it reassembled on a truck bed. Having read Grosman’s book on the history of Sierra Nevada, Beyond the Pale (Wiley, 2013), seeing it was particularly cool.

List of breweries participating in this year’s SF Beer Week Gala

The Bay Area Brewers Guild has released the list of breweries who will be pouring their beers at the SF Beer Week Opening Gala. This year the list consists of 125 of the region’s best and brightest:

Alvarado Street Brewery
Brewery Twenty Five
Discretion Brewing
Fruition Brewing Co.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.
Hop Dogma Brewing Co.
Humble Sea Brewing Co.
New Bohemia Brewing Co.
Other Brother Beer Co.
Peter B’s Brewpub
Promised Land Brewing Co.
Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen
Soquel Fermentation Project
Steel Bonnet Brewing Co.
Uncommon Brewers
Woodhouse Blending & Brewing

21st Amendment Brewery
Admiral Maltings
Alameda Island Brewing Co.
Ale Industries
Almanac Beer Co.
Altamont Beer Works
Armistice Brewing Co.
Berryessa Brewing Co.
Bruehol Brewing
Calicraft Brewing Co.
Canyon Lakes Golf Course & Brewery
Cleophus Quealy Beer Co.
Danville Brewing Co.
Del Cielo Brewing Co.
Drake’s Brewing Co.
East Brother Beer Co.
Eight Bridges Brewing
E.J. Phair Brewing Co.
Elevation 66 Brewing Co.
Epidemic Ales
Federation Brewing
Five Suns Brewing
Ghost Town Brewing
Gilman Brewing Co.
Heretic Brewing Co.
Lucky Devil Brewing
Novel Brewing Co.
Oakland United Beerworks
Ocean View Brew Works
Original Pattern Brewing Co.
Pennyweight Craft Brewing
Perching Bird Brewing Co.
The Rare Barrel
Shadow Puppet Brewing Co.
Temescal Brewing
Triple Rock Brewing Co.
Trumer Brewery

3 Disciples Brewing
Adobe Creek Brewing Co.
Barrel Brothers Brewing
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Cooperage Brewing Co.
Dempsey’s Restaurant & Brewery
Fogbelt Brewing Co.
HenHouse Brewing Co.
Indian Valley Brewing
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
Mad Fritz Beer
Marin Brewing Co.
Moylan’s Brewing Co.
No Quarter Brewing Co.
Old Caz Beer
Parliament Brewing Co.
Plow Brewing Co.
Pond Farm Brewing Co.
Russian River Brewing Co.
Seismic Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sonoma Springs Brewing Co.
Steele & Hops Public House
Tannery Bend Beerworks
Third Street Aleworks
Wolfhouse Brewing
The Woodfour Brewing Co.

Armstrong Brewing Co.
Barebottle Brewing Co.
Barrel Head Brewhouse
Bartlett Brewing Co.
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
Black Hammer Brewing
Cellarmaker Brewing Co.
Fort Point Beer Co.
Harmonic Brewing
Headlands Brewing Co.
Hop Oast Pub & Brewery
Laughing Monk Brewing Co.
Local Brewing Co.
Pacifica Brewing Co.
Pedro Point Brewing
Pine Street Brewery
San Francisco Brewing Co.
Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery
Social Kitchen & Brewery
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Standard Deviant Brewing
Sunset Reservoir Brewing Co.
ThirstyBear Organic Brewery
Triple Voodoo Brewery
Woods Beer Co.

Alpha Acid Brewing Co.
Blue Oak Brewing Co.
Campbell Brewing Co.
Clandestine Brewing
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co.
DTSJ Brewing
Freewheel Brewing Co.
Ghostwood Beer Co.
Golden State Brewery
Hapa’s Brewing Co.
Hermitage Brewing Co.
JP DasBrew
Kelly Brewing Co.
Lazy Duck Brewing
Loma Brewing Co.
Strike Brewing Co.

Fort Point Beer Co.’s new beer hall on Valencia

On Monday, Oct 7th, Fort Point Beer Company will open the doors to its brand new beer hall at 742 Valencia St., in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Fort Point Beer Co. was founded five years ago by Tyler and Justin Catalana, who had previously operated the Mill Valley Beer Works. Today it is San Francisco’s largest independent brewer.

However, despite its beers being found in bars and retailers throughout the city and beyond, and having a toehold in the Ferry Building market hall, Fort Point remained a production brewery and not open to the public. The company was thus wanting of a space in which to show off its beers the way it wanted, while having the opportunity to interact directly with the public. Enter: Fort Point Valencia.

Export Dortmunder-style lager (5.2% abv)

As founder Justin Catalana explained at a media preview soft opening event on Friday evening, opening a place such as Fort Point Valencia had been kind of a dream for them, and that they’ve striven to make it a space which invites customers to feel free to move about the hall, meeting people and enjoying its different areas.

A lot of care and thought went into designing Fort Point Valencia. It certainly does not have the semi-industrial look that is somewhat typical of brewery taprooms these days. While keeping the open ceiling and exposed beam timbers, they’ve eschewed the all-too-common black paint in favor of a pleasant tan or off-white base with vibrant accent walls.

Near the entry is a sort of front room, painted blue, which houses a low, sit-down bar with its own line of beer taps. The main space is populated with round tables of varying sizes with bar-height chairs. There follows a cozier space at the back with tables for two and booths for groups, with red accents and dimmer, more intimate lighting. The anchor for it all is the 40-ft standing bar.

The bar has recesses which accommodate the taps and leaves the bar top uncluttered, freeing customers and servers to interact without having to duck around a forest of towers and tap handles.

Westphalia Nuremberg Red Ale (5.6% abv)

According to head of brewing, Mike Schnebeck, all of Fort Point’s regular lineup of beers will be available full-time, along with seasonal offerings and a few guest beers from other craft breweries. Beers from the Black Sands brewpub, which Fort Point purchased last year, will also be available, as well as experimental brews and one-offs which will be served exclusively at Valencia. (A selection of wines and cider is also available.)

As for food, of course one cannot aim to be a proper beer hall without some food on offer. In this regard, the menu at Fort Point Valencia does not disappoint. It is certainly a cut above typical pub grub fare.

Chef Eric Ehler -who was pulled in from Black Sands- explained that he drew on his Korean heritage and on having grown up in Illinois (I’m pretty sure he said Illinois; maybe it was Indiana?) to create the range of flavors and dishes -from the cheeseburger to the dungeness crab rangoon, to the #00 on Rye open-faced egg salad and corned beef tongue sandwich. One of my favorites was the”pork chop bun” (think schnitzel sandwich) which, by the way, pairs really well with Westphalia red ale.

There are also plenty of genuinely tasty vegetarian options, from a crudités plate, to a luxed-up artichoke, to a lovely “hand salad” of endive, quinoa, pickled cauliflower, and black garlic.

Clockwise from top left: Hand Salad, Cheeseburger, Crudités, #00 on Rye

As of now, the menu doesn’t have anything very sweet on it, but if you’re in the mood for a dessert, I’d recommend ordering the “party bread”, which is a really tasty sweet-and-savory fry bread (it was a crowd favorite at the event on Friday).

Fort Point Valencia
742 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA

4th Peruvian Beer Cup

From the 19th through the 21st of June, Lima was host to the 4th installment of the Copa Peruana de Cervezas (Peruvian Beer Cup).

The competition is organized by the Unión de Cerveceros Artesanales del Perú and is open to commercial brewer and homebrewers, but is restricted to beers brewed within Peru’s borders.

This year the judging pool was made up of 21 BJCP-certified judges from Peru, Brazil, and Argentina, who together evaluated 200 entries.

I had been invited to observe but I was unable to attend due to conflicting travel plans. Thus, I have no idea of how the flights were organized, but here are the winners, organized according to the BJCP styles, as they were announced (thanks to UCAP and tomandoaltura.com for the info!)


2A. International Pale Lager
Bronze medal to Barranco Beer Company (Lima) for their Fifti Lager

3A. Czech Premium Pale Lager
Gold medal to Cerveceria Barbarian (Lima) for their Magic Quinua Pils

3C. Czech Amber Lager
Bronze medal to Barranco Beer Company (Lima) for Don Mau

6A. Märzen
Bronze medal to Curaka (Lima)

12A. British Golden Ale
Silver medal to Oveja Negra (Lima) for their Golden Spirit

14C. Scottish Export
Gold medal to Cumbres (Lima) for Roja Scottish Ale

15A. Irish Red Ale
Bronze medal to Besser Bier (Lima) for La Primera

16A. Sweet Stout
Bronze medal to Tempo (Lima) for their Magic Stout

17A. British Strong Ale
Silver medal to Cerveceria Antes de Cristo (Lima) for ¿Cómo Quedas?

20C. Imperial Stout
Gold medal to Cerveceria Barbarian (Lima) for Apagón Imperial Stout

21A. American IPA
Silver medal for 2 Brothers for Capitán 2

22B. American Strong Ale
Bronze medal to Melkim (Arequipa) for their Contigo Perú
Silver Medal to  Sierra Andina (Áncash) for Pachacútec Imperial Ale

24A. Witbier
Bronze medal to Beer Stache (Lima) for Blanche

25B. Saison
Bronze medal to Cervecería del Valle (Cusco) for their Saison de Pachar

26C. Belgian Tripel
Silver medal to Lemaire (Lima) for Premium Triple

28C. Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer
Bronze medal to Psycho Brewery (Lima) for EsquizSourFrenia American Wild Ale

29A. Fruit Beer
Gold medal to Melkim (Arequipa) for Caperucita
Gold medal to Lemaire and Cumbres (Lima) for their collab beer, Inka Champ

31B. Alternative Sugar Beer
Gold medal  to 7 Vidas (Tacna) for their Oxapampa Honey Ale


1D. American Wheat Beer
Bronze medal to Frank Ponce Vela

20B. American Stout
Bronze medal Ángel Herrera Armas

21B. American IPA
Bronze medal to Juan Carlos Ydrogo


Inka Champ, a collaboration brew between Lemaire and Cumbres, was voted Best of Show Beer. Inka Champ is a fruited beer made with agaymanto (kapulí), raspberries and blueberries. It is also Peru’s first commercially-released Berliner weisse.

Cerveceria Barbarian was named BOS Brewery, having earned two gold medals.

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