Nosara Craft Beer
Costa Rica has a vibrant craft beer industry centered mainly around lagers. For many decades Costa Ricas domestic beer production was limited to Imperial, Silver and Pilsen. Nowadays however, the craft beer industry has taken off, offering beer lovers the chance to drink some of the finest ales in Central America.
The craft beer industry in Costa Rica can trace its origins to humble beginnings. In 1867 a Brit and a German constructed a brewery in Cartago, followed the next year by the opening of a brewery in San Jose. Unfortunately however, for the large part of the 21st century the lack of local ingredients, climate, as well as some unclear laws pertaining to volumes and measures combined to ensure that beer options were few and far between for native Costa Ricans.
Then, in 1998, Costa Ricas first ever micropub was opened in San Jose under the name Cabeza Grande, Due to the available solar power options, organic grain, and gravity fed spring water they later relocated to the shores of Arenal under the name of Lake Arenal Brewery. This period arguably marked the start of Costa Ricas craft beer revoltution. A little over a decade later, Costa Rica Craft Beer Co. gave the industry a huge boost by producing its own brands, “Segua” and “Libertas” Subsequently a number of microbreweries started to appear in the next years, many of them managed by the more experienced expats coming from the United States.
Soon after, a few companies set up shop importing the ingredients, tools and equipment necessary to begin fine tuning the craft mrewery movement. Additionally. They offered workshops based on years of knowledge in the industry.
As well as such household favorites as Libertas, Segua, and Malacrianza there are now well over a hundred domestically produced craft beers to choose from around Costa Rica, with more styles and flavors appearing in bars and supermarkets all the time. And the craft beer revolution is something Nosara residents have embraced with a passion. Although this arguably began with the Black Sheep pub, nowadays 10 pies, El Chivo, and Olo Alaia are just a few of the local businesses that offer high quality craft beers. Furthermore, for the past few years running Nosara has been the home to a series of immensely popular, highly entertaining craft beer festivals that have drawn brewers from all over the country to offer their wares. Judging from the high turnout and respectable selection of beers this years Nosara craft beer festival was a roaring success.
Thus it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened, and someone decided to open up a brewery to cater to Nosara and Playa Guiones. This someone was Diego Cruz, and the beer that he produces by way of Guiones Brewing Company, named Tragona, is already proving a huge hit around town. Nosara.com sat with Diego to get the inside track on the highs and lows of creating and running a brewing company right here in Nosara.
When did you begin brewing beer?
My history with brewing beer starts in 2016 when I went to a training to become a brewer in Broomfield, Colorado.
One year later after my second visit to Broomfield, I started GBC ( Guiones Brew CO )
How did you learn the process?
I learned the process in Broomfield, Colorado. I went in 2016 to a full training with Big Choice Brewery, they coached me to do all the process, from brewing, bottles, sales and also how to start a brewery.
Did you begin brewing for business or pleasure?
Well, for both. I appreciate a lot a good craft beer and the new generation too.
And at the same time I saw a big opportunity here in Guiones to start something that the town needs and also the people that visit us every year need. They always asked for a local craft beer.
I heard a lot people requesting a local craft beer so I decided to start this project after I finished college.
How long did it take you to make the recipe for Tragona beer?
A year, I started the recipe in 2016 in Colorado and after my second batch of testing in 2017, I found the right numbers for the TRAGONA. Between the tests we did a lot of testing of the image of the TRAGONA and also a lot of test of the logo of the brewery.
When did you decide to open a brewing company?
I decided right before I finished the career of project management, in 2015. I spent 5 years coaching surfing here in Guiones and then I went back to San Jose to study some more and was over there when I decided to start my own project, so here I am right now !
What is the toughest thing about brewing in Guiones? (getting ingredients, climate etc)
To be honest, the water, the PH. Thats why we are brewing 90 minutes away from Guiones, right now till we find the best water around town, so we had to brew 90 min away, just because the water. Also the hops, you have to buy big orders so you maintain your recipe for at least 6 months and then you have to get same amount for the next 6 months of production. So its a lot of hops !
What is the best thing about brewing in Guiones
It`s not hard to answer this question, this place is a paradise/ The community, the local people, the tourism, the waves and the climate. For real this place its like no other !!!
That’s the reason it it called TRAGONA, this place “te traga” in Spanish or in English, means swallows you in a good way of course
How many bottles do you currently produce?
1040 bottles in a month approx.
How has been the feedback from customers?
People are enjoying the beer, we started 3 months ago with 480 bottles a month and now GBC is producing 1000, hopefully we continue like that. Of course like everything nothing is perfect, we had good feedback from customers so we can make the beer even better, so we take all those positive comments and right away we apply those to the TRAGONA and future recipes.
Do you plan to create more types or flavors of beer in the future?
Yes. Right now we are in the process to release our second beer, hopefully in one month its out !!
What is your favorite Costa Rican craft beer?
It is called MAJADERA from Cerveceria Treinta y Cinco
What is your favorite craft beer in the world?
The IPA from Goose Island. I love that beer !
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting new people, talking about beer with them, every time I have the chance to talked to others who brew beer is such a nice time even though I am new on this.
What places in Guiones currently sell your beer?
Burgers and Beers
El Bar of the Basilico
Las Delicias del Mundo Mini Market
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I want to say to all the people thanks for the support, thanks for the comments. Also thanks to Nosara.com for this chance. Thanks guys. You can find us on Facebook and also Instagram as Guiones Brew Co
Pura vida !!