By James Bloomfield
Panama doesn’t do very good beer festivals.
At least, it didn’t.
That has all changed, with the first Panama Micro Brew Fest throwing open its taps and opening the bar to a decentpinta. With over 20 types of cerveza on offer, the brew fest hosted some of Panama’s best up and coming brewmasters. Alongside bigger craft brew brands such as Brewdog and Rogue, local heroes La Rana Dorada and Istmo Brew Pub were representing with their best casks.
Perfectly timed to take place between the bigger events of Festival Verde and Festival Abierto (Two of Panama’s biggest outdoor shows), Micro Brew Fest felt the perfect size for a laid-back Saturday afternoon. A young crowd enjoyed glasses of 5am Saint from Brewdog, La Rana Porter, and Red Ale by Casa Bruja, proving more than equal to the task of drinking down barrels of the well-brewed stuff. As the midday sun slipped away over nearby Ancon Hill, the festival was already in serious swing. Dozens of colored lights illuminated festival-goers faces, as they laughed, mingled, and swapped jokes and brews in the unique setting.
And what a setting! Mi Pueblito is a Panamanian mock-up of various architectural styles found across the isthmus, thrown together around a cozy “town square” – The perfect setting for a mid-sized event. The organizers did an amazing job of lighting and focusing the event, as the fun was always centralized around the main attraction – the beer!
All in all this was a great event, which bodes well for the future of the Panamanian craft brew scene. While the number of beers and true craft brews wasn’t comparable to other, larger international festivals, it showed real promise thanks to tight organization and some tasty picks. The event was bolstered by some fun sponsorship from DIESEL, who played with the big boys at the flip cup table. What happens at the table stays at the table. Alongside this, a great crowd really kept the momentum of the event going, with a fun, friendly vibe permeating the entire day. More of this please!
I wrote an altered version of this for Local Beer Blog. Click here to read it when it is posted up!