by Herb DeMars
November 4, 2022
By Jennifer LaCharite
Thanks to the explosion of craft breweries in the past decade, Costa Rica is much more than Imperial and Pilsen beer. There are several large and small-scale craft breweries creating everything from popular IPAs to fruit and coffee-infused brews. Microbreweries have become so popular in recent years that there is a unique flavor for every part of the small Central American country.
Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Costa Rica
Whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast who seeks out the best up-and-coming breweries everywhere you travel or just want to enjoy a cold beer and some good food, there’s a brewery in Costa Rica for you. Here are our favorites.
Monkey Head Brewing
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Established in 2015, Monkey Head Brewing was the first licensed microbrewery in the popular beach town of Playas del Coco. A pioneer of sorts among microbreweries in the area, you can find their unique beers such as Easy IPA and seasonal brews like Dragon Fruit and Hibiscus Kettle Sour all along the North Pacific Coast. You can find their beer on tap at several bars and restaurants including Zi Lounge in Playas del Coco, Paw House Roasters in Playa Hermosa, Cafe Europa in Liberia, Red Door in Tamarindo and El Chivo and The Fish Bar in Nosara.
They are in the process of opening their own taproom near the Liberia airport. For those who can’t wait for the new taproom to open, Monkey Head has a Growler program. Buy a Growler and refill it with any Monkey Head product on tap.
Must-Try Beer: It’s not a beer, but you must try the Cas Cider, which is made using a native guava-like fruit called cas, with tart and sour characteristics.
Numu Brewing Company
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Available in its distinctive cans with the Chorotega Indian inspired logo from coast to coast, Numu beer is making a name for itself in Latin America, winning gold medals for their House Beers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. The name, Numu, means “sun” in the Chorotega language. Numu is a 10-barrel microbrewery in the region of Guanacaste where the Chorotega Indians once roamed.
Not only do they have a brewery that is open to the public in the Solarium near Liberia’s airport, but they have also recently opened Numu Taproom and Bistro in Playas del Coco. The taproom serves flights of their customs beers, along with tapas and “meals to share”. All of the bread served here is made from sourdough using with their own brews. You can find Numu beer well beyond the taproom at several stores in Costa Rica.
Must-Try Beer: Numu’s signature Chorotega IPA is a medium-bodied pale ale with hints of tropical fruits and citrusy aromas.
Brothers of Ale (BOA) Brewing
Huacas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Brothers of Ale Brewing, or BOA for short, is a fairly new craft microbrewery in the province of Guanacaste. They strive to bring sustainable practices to their operation, partnering with local farmers who use the brewery’s spent grain to feed their animals and wastewater in their on-site gardens.
The brewery and taproom located near the small town of Huacas serve pub-style food as well as their on-tap beers. They have even tried their hand at making a brand new guanabana (soursop) cider, which is currently on tap. A fun place to spend the afternoon, their Clubhouse features weekly entertainment, sports on the big screen TVs, and lawn games such as cornhole and ladder ball. BOA offers tours of their operation on Saturdays and bottled beer and kegs are available to take home.
Must-Try Beer: A hybrid between a fresh lager and crisp green apple cider, the Kiwi Brother is a lager that incorporates an exclusively-grown New Zealand hop.
Papagayo Brewing Co.
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Located in the Solarium across the highway from the Liberia airport, Papagayo Brewery offers custom tours and tastings. They have a fairly new taproom at Peninsula Papagayo, which is a coastal resort-style community.
Considered an easy-drinking craft beer that is perfect for the beach, Papagayo Brewing offers the Beach Lager, Tropical IPA, and the new Off-Shore Ale. They carry an ever-changing small-batch IPA series with limited releases. Bottled beer is available for purchase.
Must-Try Beer: The uniquely Costa Rican Passion Fruit Ale is a light and golden pale ale made with local maracuya (passion fruit).
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Coconutz is a sports bar and microbrewery found in downtown Playas del Coco. Popular with North American tourists and expats, Coconutz broadcasts all of the big American sports games and offers weekly live entertainment in English.
Brewed on-site, they have a diverse collection of lagers, ales, and stouts, and even a non-alcoholic root beer. This brewery started out small, brewing two kegs a day, under the name Angry Goats Brewery. Over time it has developed into what it is today, changing its name to reflect its roots at Coconutz Sports Bar & Eatery, and can now be found on tap at bars across the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
Must-Try Beer: Coconutz’s most popular beer has got to be the Howler IPA, which has a bitter hoppy profile and flavors of orange and grapefruit.
Read More: 10 Reasons To Make Playas del Coco Your Next Destination
Fuego Brew Co.
Dominical, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Located where the jungle meets the beach is Fuego Brewery, which serves typical yet upgraded brew pub cuisine such as the lobster clubhouse. They also roast and package their own coffee on-site.
The beer here is made from natural spring water tapped at its source, and considering it’s located in one of the world’s Blue Zones, the water here is second to none. That quality is the source of their beer, which is made using high-quality ingredients. Sticking to their tropical roots, they feature a pale ale with hints of mango, coffee, and chocolate.
Must-Try Beer: The Kua Kua Expreso Porter is smooth with a slightly acidic finish and highlights both the beer and coffee of the region.
Volcano Brewing Company
Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
As the popular beach town of Tamarindo’s first microbrewery, Volcano Brewing Company was created to provide customers of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp with a good pale ale. Pair one of three house brews with their restaurant’s “Nachos as Big as Your Ass”.
This beachfront brewery has 45 taps located throughout the resort, including a tasting room. You can find Volcano beer at the surf camp’s restaurant Eat at Joe’s and El Vaquero Restaurant, which is also owned by them.
Must-Try Beer: Their most popular beer is the signature Witch’s Rock Pale Ale, which is a refreshing beer with citrus and floral undertones – perfect to cool off after a surf.
Lake Arenal Brewery
Nuevo Arenal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Made with spring water fed from the Tenorio Volcano, Lake Arenal Brewery lies on a 15-acre organic farm where the owners also run a hotel and green energy center. Their operation is powered entirely by solar energy and bio-diesel, earning them the distinction of Costa Rica’s first eco-brewery.
As pioneers in the eco-brewery industry, they also created Costa Rica’s first nitrogen gas infused ale to help give their Black Ash Nitro Stout that creamy flavor.
Must-Try Beer: A nod to the national drink, chiliguaro, the Chili Birra is a classic blonde ale with campana chilis from their organic farm that achieves a slightly spicy flavor.
Monteverde Brewing Company
Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Craft beer made in the heart of the cloud forest in the town of Santa Elena, where the air is fresh and the water is clean and pure. The Monteverde Brewing Company brewpub serves its own brews in flights so you can sample all five of their mainstays. There is also a variety of seasonal beers available, like most microbreweries.
The brewery produces over 2,000 liters of beer per month for themselves and a few other local restaurants and bars. It is made without additives or preservatives. Their beers are inspired by family, like the popular Mi Tata (my dad), and the unique ecosystem of Monteverde, like Red Tapir (Costa Rica’s largest land mammal).
Must-Try Beer: El Rayado is a pale ale with a strong character that is easy to drink and features citrus and floral aromas.
Photo Credit: Jennifer LaCharite
Suiz y Tico Creaciones Cerveza Artesanal
San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica
As unique as their label designs so too are the process for making beer at this nano brewery. Beer at Suiz y Tico is brewed over a wood fire in a 100-year-old copper kettle. In an effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible, no trees are cut down to sustain their burn.
The stunning labels on the bottles of Suiz y Tico beers all feature artwork of the beautiful Costa Rican animal they are named for, from the Pizote Porter to the Iguana Hefeweizen. Even though it is one of the smallest breweries in Costa Rica, it can be found in select stores and restaurants from La Fortuna to San Jose to El Coco.