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Move over Malbec: How Craft Beer Is Taking over Buenos Aires

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Move over Malbec: How Craft Beer Is Taking over Buenos Aires

Move over Malbec, it’s time for some craft cerveza. In Buenos Aires, the craft beer craze is suddenly getting much, much crazier.

Less than five years ago, there was hardly a craft beer bar in sight. If you did stumble upon some place serving craft brews, they came in a range of three handy colors: roja (red), vaguely referring to Scottish ale or amber; rubia (blonde), as blonde ale; and negra (black), which is a nod to some kind of dark beer.

But the craft beer scene here has been steadily growing over the last several years to the point that a new craft beer bar (cerveceria artesanal) opened every month or so throughout 2016. And it isn’t a trend that’s limited to the more touristy and expat-filled barrio of Palermo. The craft beer madness has spread throughout the city as far as the posh, residential northern suburbs, about an hour away by public transport. Craft beer bar chains like On Tap, Antares and Cervelar have had to continue opening new locations constantly to keep up with demand—and this city can definitely be demanding.

Not unexpectedly, all the craft beer bars here have a happy hour (usually 6 p.m. to 8:30 or 9 p.m.), also known as “after office,” and offer 2-for-1 deals on pints (pintas) of beer or just a discount off the regular beer price—and sometimes food. If you find a bar with no happy hour, proceed with caution, or just head to another bar. Regardless of where you choose to go, get there before 7 p.m. or you may not find a seat!

Here are six craft beer bars in Buenos Aires where you can explore the seriously high quality offerings of local microbreweries—and just as important, where you’ll find good vibes, or “buena onda,” as they say here.

BlueDog

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Photo by Teodora Ivanova

Established by one of the guys behind the popular Grunge Brewing Company, this cozy, wood-paneled space (with awesome music) has that certain something about it—maybe because of its relatively smaller size. BlueDog is one of the few places in town where you can try barrel-aged sour beers from the “gypsy brewer” known as Los Bichos Mandan (which translates to “Bugs Rule,” due to his use of bacteria and wild yeast). With only 10 handles here, four are of course reserved for Grunge beers, including the Mumbai English IPA (one of the best IPAs we’ve tried in the city), Black Mamba foreign stout and La Socarrada (with rosemary and honey), made in partnership with the award-winning Premium Beers brewery from Spain. Another tap is dedicated to the Sir Hopper IPA from Sir Hopper, another gypsy brewer known for his obsession with hopping techniques. Sir Hopper makes his beers on the premises of Jugetes Perdidos brewery, which is known for highly experimental beers.

Growlers

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Photo by Teodora Ivanova

Opened in late 2016, this happening Palermo corner spot features 20 craft beers on tap with heavy rotation. You can sip and be seen on Growlers’ sidewalk or charming cobblestone alleyway, or climb up to the terrace and grab a coveted seat. One tap is reserved for smaller microbreweries with limited supply, so be sure to ask for a sample of the daily selection. For a fun snack, order the candy bacon, but for a real meal, try one of their homemade hamburgers.

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