Colombia isn’t generally associated with high-quality beer, but that is changing, thanks to a growing number of excellent craft beer pubs and breweries, and even specialist beer tours. The Colombian capital of Bogota, in particular, is blessed with a wonderful selection of places to sample some unique Colombian craft beers. Here are some of the best of them.
Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Tapas, Pub Grub, American, $$$
It’s highly unlikely that you’d just stumble across this excellent little craft beer pub and nano-brewery on a visit to Bogota – it’s hidden away behind a nondescript metal door in a fairly quiet part of town – but if you don’t make time for a visit, you’ll be missing out. The owner comes from San Francisco and has been brewing beer in Bogota for five years, and if you are a fan of quality beer, friendly atmosphere and good food, then this place is for you. With three of their own craft beers (brewed below the bar – ask owner Will to give you a quick tour), homemade sodas, and delicious burgers and tapas, Gigante is a hidden paradise for craft beer lovers.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Pub Grub, Tapas, $$$
This hip neighbourhood bar in the Chapinero neighbourhood has exploded onto the Bogota craft beer scene. With two locations (the second is on Cra. 4 #54-85), some excellent local beers on tap, and a creative food menu, El Mono (as it is affectionately known by regulars) is the perfect place to meet up with friends on a Friday or Saturday night. The space, a large redbrick house in a leafy neighbourhood, is wonderful, and it attracts a young, hip clientele of craft beer fans and newcomers alike. With live music and the occasional magic show, you’ll never be bored there.
Cafe, Craft Ale Bar, Healthy, Australian, Mexican, Pub Grub
This lovely little cafe/bar in the La Candelaria neighbourhood is the hub of craft beer in Bogota’s old town. The owners operate an excellent craft beer tour every day from Monday to Friday, which visits several of the bars listed here for tastings, and includes a private tour of a local craft brewery. They also serve some of the best beers from Cervecercia Gigante and Dos Carreras on tap, as well as delicious burritos, pulled pork, and juices. Located in the heart of Bogota’s busiest tourist neighbourhood, it’s the perfect place to escape a rainy afternoon (and those are common!).
In Bogota’s hipster Parkway neighbourhood is Dos Carreras, a craft beer pub and exhibition space run by a Spanish–Colombian couple with a passion for great beer. With up to 11 different local craft beers on tap (including three that they brew themselves under the name Rustica) ranging from IPAs to porters, Dos Carreras is the perhaps the best place in Bogota to sample a range of local beers from many different breweries. They also host regular concerts and art exhibitions, and a game at their ping-pong table is a surefire test of how many more strong ales you should imbibe before you head on home.
The originators of Bogota’s craft beer scene more than 15 years ago, the BBC has become the Starbucks of Colombian craft beer: it genuinely seems like there’s one on every corner these days (we have selected the location in La Candelaria, Bogota’s traveller hotspot). However, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean lack of quality, and the Bogota Beer Company have some great craft beers, all named after Bogota neighbourhoods and tourist attractions. With five regular beers and a host of seasonal specialities, as well as pub-grub food menus at many sites, a BBC pub is one of the best places to grab lunch and a pint on a day out in the Colombian capital.
With delicious craft beer, a delicious outdoor BBQ, and the best soundtrack in town, Statua Rota is the bar hipster craft beer pub of choice in Bogota nowadays. Located in the rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood of Chapinero Alto, the pub is a comfortable and cosy place to enjoy a few pints and one of the best burgers in the city. Wood-panelled walls, a constant music loop of rock and hip-hop music, and a noticeably hip clientele all contribute to the feeling of drinking craft beer in an exclusive spot. Its slightly higher prices reflect Statua Rota’s standing among Bogota’s trendsetters, but the beer and food are worth it.
A new addition to the Bogota craft beer scene, Tap House has locations in both stylish Parque 93 and the Zona Rosa party district, and its more stylish and modern atmosphere and decor reflect these locations. It might lack the intimacy of somewhere like Cerveceria Gigante, but it’s far from an identikit chain bar; with 13 different local craft beers on tap, including beer brewed by bars on this list, it is one of the best spots in Bogota to sample local craft beers. With good TV screens, it is also the best place in the city to combine sports and craft beer: this is the place to be for beer lovers when their team is playing.