Decent Beer in Bolivia

Beer is fairly cheap in Bolivia. It also tastes fairly cheap too, but there are a few exceptions. Here are three that I’ve found that I can recommend if you’re looking for something to celebrate with in La Paz this year.JudasIt’s not amazing, but it’s strong (7%) and has a bit of a bite compared to your typical Bolivia lagers. It really sits in your stomach though, so don’t drink too much of it. Available almost everywhere.

sayaNamed after an Afro-Bolivian dance, Saya comes in at least three flavors: dorada (golden), ambar (amber) and negra (black). Only available in higher end restaurants and supermarkets (in Sopocachi and Zona Sur), it’s more expensive and comes in smaller bottles than regular Bolivian beer. Agencies in Sagarnaga offer tours of the brewery for 80Bs.

lipenaLipeña is made with quinoa. It’s the best beer I’ve had in Bolivia. It’s low in alcohol (3.47%), so it could have been served at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. There’s a slight tinge of honey, and, well, if you read my last beer post you’ll know I’m not very good at describing beer, but trust me, it’s really good! It comes from Potosí, but we couldn’t find it anywhere there. It’s served at the restaurant La Coca, in Sopocachi, La Paz (great food there too) and we’ve seen it in some restaurants in Sucre, as well. If you do find it, cherish it. Or just drink it.

Other: Keep your eyes out for beers from Ted’s Cervecería in Sucre, too.

Happy New Year!

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A Cheap Beer Tasting in La Paz

It was Friday night, and we were feeling too lazy and too broke to go out, but wanted a reasonable excuse to drink. So we came up with the idea to have a cheap beer tasting.

There are nice beers in Bolivia, Saya to give an example, but we opted for what was on offer at our local Ke-Tal supermarket.

I don’t really know how to write about beer. I googled, “How to write about beer,” and did my best with the sometimes esoteric adjectives provided. After each beer, I got a little more tired, and my palate a little less precise.

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Here are the results.

Bock
Alcohol content: 7%
Color: anemic golden hue
Taste: slightly sour and earthy
Carbonation: fizzy
Mouthfeel: pretty smooth once the bubbles die down
Did you like it?: Meh. The sourness is a bit cloying and the body is weak. Not disgusting, but not an altogether pleasant experience.

Huari
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Color: clear, yellowish-greenish hue
Taste: a bit hoppy, gentle body, minimal scent
Carbonation: low
Mouthfeel: very smooth
Did you like it?: Yeah. Not bad. I’d recommend it to people who don’t really like beer. It’s not especially flavorful, but it’s inoffensive, despite its odd color.

Paceña Pilsner
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Color: standard golden
Carbonation: fizzy
Taste: dry, weak finish, slightly malty but hardly a pilsner
Mouthfeel: light and dry
Did you like it?: Not so much, but it’s better than the Bock. In fact, it’s like a less tart version of it.

Paceña Dark
Alcohol content: 5%
Color: black
Carbonation: soft
Taste: sweet, too sweet in fact
Mouthfeel: sticky
Did you like it?: No. This is dark like Batman is dark… in the Adam West TV series.