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You might think that Argentina is all about Malbec wine. Let’s get real, the craft beer craze has taken hold all over the country with delicious Argentine beers to offer.
While it is true that you are more likely to find Quilmes, the emblematic Argentina beer. Today, you will notice several micro-brews and craft beers burgeoning across the country.
On our quest for authentic food, we could not help but notice the popularity of beer in Argentina.
If your travels take you to Argentina, be sure to sample the many beers, regional ales and artisanal brews, the country has to offer.
Let’s take a tour of the Argentina beer landscape with 10 must-try brews.
Quilmes Beer – The National Beer of Argentina
Quilmes beer is arguably the most popular beer in Argentina. Light and refreshing, this lager beer has a pale golden color with a crisp and mild hoppy taste.
Quilmes brewery was founded in 1888 by a German immigrant, Otto Bemberg. It took its name from Quilmes, a small city in the province of Buenos Aires known for having high quality water.
The beer grew to become the most popular beer in Buenos Aires and then in all of Argentina.
Today, it is like a national symbol and it represents 67% of the Argentina beer market.
You will find this beer everywhere, and if you have never tried it, give it a go. Personally, while refreshing, I found this lager beer to be very light with a flat taste.
Patagonia Beer and Quilmes Regional Varieties
As you leave Buenos Aires and travel through Argentina, you will find regional Argentine beer brands made by Quilmes.
They do not have the Quilmes label on them, and instead go by their regional brew name.
Patagonia Beer – A Premium Beer
In Patagonia, in the South of Argentina, you will find Patagonia beer, named after the famous wild region.
It is a Quilmes craft beer version. Brewed in Bariloche, this Argentinian beer is a premium beer and one that is made right.
You will find Patagonia beer offered in various different styles. The most popular are the pilsner, amber and wheat version.
The Patagonia bohemian pilsner is a light, malty beer with hints of zesty flavors. While the Patagonia amber has a malty flavor, with caramel notes that leaves a subtle sweetness in the mouth.
I personally relish wheat beer and Patagonia Weisse didn’t deceive. Citrus and spicy, with fruity and clove notes, this refreshing brew will satisfy any thirst.
Quilmes Regional Varieties – Quilmes Copycat
In the north of Argentina, in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Tucuman, you will find Cerveza Norte. Originally founded in 1914, this regional Argentine beer is now produced by Quilmes.
A light lager, its taste is very similar to Quilmes, with a crisp, dry thirst quenching finish.
In Mendoza, you will find the Andes beer that is made by Quilmes. Like the Quilmes, it is a light pale lager slightly hoppy, refreshing when served cold.
Schneider and The Number 2 Beer Player in Argentina
CCU Argentina, is the second beer producer in Argentina after Quilmes. Some of their most famous beer brands in Argentina include Imperial beer, Schneider and Salta.
Imperial Beer – A Classic Buenos Aires Favorite
Imperial beer is popular and predominant in the Buenos aires province. This Argentina beer is a premium light lager.
Easy to drink with light flavors, the Imperial beers are a step above Quilmes in terms of taste and aromas.
In addition to the most commonly served lager, the Imperial brand also offers Weissbier, Red Lager, Strong Ale and Stout brews.
Schneider – CCU Argentina Flagship Beer
The most popular beer from CCU Argentina is Schneider. This pale lager was born in 1912 in Santa Fe, a city in the Northeast of Argentina.
Santa Fe is located at the junction of the Parana and Salado rivers, which provide great water for the production of this regional beer.
This Argentina beer is named after the brewmaster Otto Schneider. A German immigrant, he originally created the brewery with locals from Santa Fe.
While the most popular Schneider beer is the pale lager, you can also find Red Ale, and Stout brews.
Salta – A Northern Choice
In Salta province and the Northern part of Argentina, you will encounter Salta beer, a popular choice on local tables.
The brewery was founded in 1958 in Salta, and is today owned by CCU Argentina. Salta beer comes in two primary styles: Lager and Stout.
The lager style has a nice golden color and balanced flavors of malt with floral notes.This is one of my favorite beers to pair with empanadas in Argentina.
Three Craft Beers Making It Big in Argentina
While craft beers are not mainstream, they’re increasing in popularity.
These three craft beers are some of the top craft beers that you will find in Argentina.
Antares – The First Argentina Craft Brewery
Antares is the leader of craft beers in Argentina. They started the first Argentinian microbrewery in 1994 in Mar del Plata, a city on the Atlantic coast.
The first Antares brewpub opened with three beer varieties in the Buenos Aires province. Given their unique and original concept, this beer in Argentina rapidly grew in popularity.
Today, there are more than 50 Antares pubs across Argentina. Antares now offer more than 15 beer varieties.
They have also started distributing their beers in bars and restaurants in different cities across the country.
Despite their rapid growth, Antares still produce their beers using traditional methods to preserve the beer quality.
While in Tandil, a city in the Buenos Aires province, we had our first experience at an Antares pub with locals.
Intrigued by the selection of beers, I chose to taste the honey beer. Generally Antares beer have a higher alcohol content than most of the beer in Argentina.
This Antares beer was indeed strong with an intense amber taste and sweet honey notes.
While not my favorite, I wish I had the chance to try more of their offering. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try an Antares craft beer in Argentina.
Cerveceria Beagle – Making Beers At The End of The World
Cape Horn and Beagle are two craft beer brands that are leading the market in Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in Argentina.
The two breweries were originally operating as two separate local breweries. Now, the beers are brewed locally under one roof by Cerveceria Beagle in Ushuaia.
This craft brewery uses the traditional German process to produce its beers. They use water from the glacier, malt, hops and yeast without the use of preservatives or chemicals.
Different brews are produced on site including: pale, red, dark, honey, ale, and wheat.
While exploring the local food specialties in the region, I took the opportunity to taste both beers. I had the Beagle beer red ale and the Cap Horn wheat and both beers were tasty.
My preference went to the Beagle with its spicy and earthy notes while the Cap Horn had a bitter finish.
READ MORE: Ushuaia: Eating At The End of The World
Berlina – A Brewery From German Tradition
Berlina Brewery in Bariloche is one of the most successful craft beers in the region.
Bariloche located on the Southwest side of Argentina is a beautiful city, on the foothills of the Andes, close to the Chile border.
The town was founded by Swiss and German immigrants and has a long tradition of craft beer brewing.
Today, there are about 15 micro-breweries, producing and selling beer at the local pubs called cervecerias.
Berlina Brewery is a must-visit brewery in Bariloche. Open for brewery visits and beer sampling, it makes a great stop while visiting the region.
Berlina makes more than 20 types of beer as well as a cider. They are located at the end of Colonia Suiza, a village with Swiss roots, 20 kilometers from Bariloche.
Not only Berlina is making a name for itself in Argentina, it is also exporting its beers internationally.
Although we would have loved to visit Berlina, they were not open at the time of our visit. That leaves us an experience to have next time we are in the region.
Flourishing Local Microbrews
There are a few regions in Argentina where microbreweries are booming. If your travels bring you to these areas, don’t miss out on the microbrew scene.
El Bolson – Epicenter For Handcrafted Beers
With the craft beer market burgeoning, you will find other regions in Argentina where craft breweries are making an impact.
El Bolson located 120 kilometers south of Bariloche has a growing craft beer scene with eight major micro-breweries.
Rupestre is one of the main microbrews in El Bolson with three different beer varieties: Golden Ale, Red Ale, and Stout beers.
These handcrafted beers are produced with natural ingredients: the local water from the mountain, barley, hops and yeast.
I tasted the Rupestre Golden Ale while in Bariloche and was pleasantly surprised by its fruity and refreshing flavors.
Cordoba – A Growing Microbrew Scene
Córdoba, the second largest city after Buenos Aires, located in the center of the country, has a growing microbrew scene.
It is home to Oktoberfest Argentina where you can sample local microbrews, Argentina craft beers as well as international beers.
Also called Villa General Belgrano Oktoberfest in reference to the local mountain range, it is a great place to taste local beer paired with traditional German foods.
Needless to say, Córdoba should definitely be taken into consideration when planning a beer trip to Argentina.
Buenos Aires – Touring Brew Pubs
The craft beer craze has definitely taken over Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
Today, you can find several micro-breweries and brewpubs that have emerged and populated the city.
Even some of the most iconic bars, called bar notables, have added craft beers to their offering.
There is no better experience in Buenos Aires than relishing on a craft beer and sandwich de miga in these iconic institutions.
We particularly enjoyed Bar El Federal in San Telmo for an immersion into Argentina’s culture.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: You will also see beer tours and beer tasting offered in the city. Check out this beer craft tour in Palermo for an Argentine craft beer and street food tour in Buenos Aires.
How to Order Your Beer in Argentina
When ordering a beer in Argentina, be aware that the beer comes in large bottles from 500ml up to 1 liter. These servings are meant for sharing.
Although not as popular, you can find a smaller bottle for one serving called a porrón.
Draft beer is typically called a chopp unless you are in Santa Fe province where it’s called a liso.
Draft beers are mainly served in three types: Cerveza Rubia, Colorada, and Negra. They correspond to a Pale Lager, Red Ale and Stout.
Cerveceria is the common name for dedicated bars or brewpubs.
What we enjoyed most about Argentina’s venues is the ability to find both good wine and beers at the same location.
Where To Taste It All – Argentina Beer Festivals
If all this talk of beer has you salivating for more, check out these beer festivals in Argentina.
Fiesta Nacional de la Cerveza – National Beer Festival
The National Beer Festival, Oktoberfest Argentina, takes place every year in Villa General Belgrano.
This is a small village located 100 kilometers Southwest of Córdoba.This village was founded in the 1930s by two Germans, who brought with them the tradition of the German Oktoberfest.
Today, the festival takes place over ten days in the Parque Cervecero or Beer Park, built especially for the occasion. The main beer brands, both national and international, participate in this festival.
For more information check the festival website: Oktoberfest Argentina
Fiesta de la Cerveza Artesanal – BeerArt
The Bariloche region is the main producer of craft beers. La Fiesta de La Cerveza Artesanal, also called BeerArt, is a national outdoor artisanal beer festival taking place every December.
This event celebrates Bariloche artisanal and craft beer in Argentina. This is the largest craft beer event in Patagonia.
With more than 50 craft brewers styles and beer brands, 16 breweries are presented. There is also an important gastronomic fair during the festival, with music and rock bands playing all week.
Fiesta de la Picada y La Cerveza Artesanal – Buenos Aires Festival
Buenos Aires also has its own beer festival. It is called Fiesta de la Picada y la Cerveza Artesanal, picada and craft beer festival.
This festival takes place in October in Uribelarrea, a city located about 90 kilometers from Buenos Aires.
For two days, artisanal beer of Argentina and over 40 craft breweries from across the country are celebrated.
There is a musical show as well as stands with cheese and cured meats from the region called picada. This is a great way to celebrate Argentina beer with traditional local food.
Argentina, while most famous for its wine, also has an interesting and growing Argentina beer scene.
Quilmes is an Argentine cultural symbol and a beer you should try once on your travels through the country.
Beyond the national and regional beers, you will find many craft breweries that are leading the beer revolution in Argentina.
Wherever your travels take you in Argentina, go for the authentic Argentina beer experience.
Share a one liter bottle with new found friends and take the time to sip the local craft beers.
Have you ever tasted Argentine beers? Tell us your favorite brand in the comments below!
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Claire, ex-engineer, is a digital nomad and content creator at Authentic Food Quest. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, they travel the world in search of the best local food experiences. Their mission is to help you enjoy the best local specialties on your travels or via recipes in your home kitchen. Favorite country for food: Vietnam. Favorite local dish: Hainanese Chicken Rice. Favorite way to keep fit: Cycling. Claire is responsible for the website and the fun food & travel videos on Youtube. She is also co-author of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon.