Quito’s craft beer scene may be a long way behind the US but you can find more than a bottle of Club cerveza in the city's bars these days. However, while a bottle of Club or Pilsner goes for around $1.50, the average bottle of craft beer goes for double that but, as any craft beer aficionado will tell you, that’s the price you have to pay for a real good ale.
Numerous microbreweries have set up shop in Quito over the last few years, experimenting with hops, malt and other ingredients to create their own special ales. And they’ve opened up their own brewpubs and tasting rooms to serve their frothy goodness to the masses.
Many of the ingredients are unique to Ecuador, crafted from local plants, fruits and spices such as Guayasa tea from the jungle, honey, cacao, vanilla and even pineapple, all of which give the brews an exotic flavor and aroma. You can also find your more traditional German Weissbier, British stouts and IPAs from the States but with an original, local twist.
If all this beer talk has got you thirsty, here’s where to go for a great pint of artisanal ale in Quito.
Bandido Brewing first appeared on the scene back in 2013, conceived by three American guys. Starting out in the backroom of an old colonial building in the historical center, they would brew their beer in the morning and serve it by night until it ran out. It was the first locally made IPA available in the city. Due to popular demand they quickly expanded and moved their beer making facility elsewhere but converted the original site where it all began into a brewpub. Today you’ll find a variety of US style ales along with some more unusual beers on tap. We recommend the Honey Ginger Saison or the La Guapa Pale Ale to start. They also serve up some great pizza. And when you’re feeling guilty about all the ale and pizza you just consumed, you can ask for forgiveness for your sins in the adjoining chapel (yes, there’s a chapel onsite).
Olmedo E1-136 y Fermin Cevallos
Refined beer drinkers should head to La Oficina where you can sit down for a pint or two of their own-brewed San Blas beer while enjoying some local culture and entertainment. Located in the historic center, the cozy brewpub is always buzzing with some kind of cultural happening whether it’s a live music show, a movie screening, a theater performance or some salsa dancing.
Jose De Antepara y Los Rios
Django Brewery prides itself on its original recipes and ingredients in their even more originally named beers, such as Cotton Candy, Ginger Wee Heavy or Bittermint. They view beer making as a science and invite you to discover the Django effect in their industrial-style laboratory turned brewpub that’s a lively location to enjoy a few good beers at a reasonable price. They also host regular events including an open mic stand-up comedy night.
Reina Victoria N26-64 y La Pinta
Founded in 2011, Camino del Sol was one of the first Ecuadorian artisan breweries on the scene and more importantly was the first Ecuadorian brewery to be created by a woman. Its beers are characterized by five different animals symbolic of different regions of Ecuador, from the Turtle of the Galapagos Islands (a pale ale) to the llama of the Highlands (a red ale), the lizard of the forest (a lager), the iguana from the coast (an IPA), and the condor, Ecuador’s national animal (a stout beer). Their brewpub is located in the heart of Quito’s Plaza Foch and is a popular nighttime hangout.
Mariscal Foch E7-70 y Reina Victoria
And if you’re still eager for more beer after all of that then check out Sinners Brewery (Mariana de Jesús E7-108 y Martín Carrión) and order a pint of the Coffee Cinnamon Black IPA and Abysmo Brewery (Ave 12 de Octubre, La Mariscal) a.k.a. God’s Fluids Brewery and try the Afrodita Honey Ale (with a 7.5% alcohol content, it’ll blow your socks off and finally put you to bed).
Come across any other great microbreweries in Quito? Share your craft beer tips with our readers in the comments section below.