All You Need to Know About Costa Rican Beers

Beer with a view

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Costa Rica is an appealing destination just a few hours' flight away from many cities in the U.S. Its allure: rain forests, volcanoes and beautiful beaches on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. So if you are into nature, this place is for you. When you're ready for an urban adventure, head for San Jose, the capital. Check out a few museums, marvel at its architecture and have some good eats. Young chefs, savvy bartenders, and craft brewers are making this city a cool culinary experience, reports Travel + Leisure. Whether you have a jones for Italian food, authentic Costa Rican dishes, French, Swiss, Indonesian, Peruvian, Argentinian or Cuban, you will find it in San Jose. 

If you're like most everyone else, you'll be on the hunt for some ice cold ones. They pair especially well with Cuban and South American food. There is only one major player in the Costa Rican beer industry, and that is Florida Ice & Farm Company, or FIFCO. It produces a total of 10 beers and also distributes several foreign brews. Most of the selection is light and the difference between choices is subtle, but consumers go through them at a rate of 4.2 billion a year. 

So if you are planning to visit Costa Rica and beer is on your mind, do a marathon taste test on these Costa Rican beers. (But drink responsibly.) Salud!

01 of 04

Imperial, Imperial Light, and Imperial Silver

Imperial Beer Cruiser in Costa Rica

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Invented in 1924 with the intention of combining German traditions with Costa Rican tastes, Imperial is the indisputable beer of choice for Costa Ricans. In 2007, it earned a gold medal in the Monde Selection beer contest held in Belgium. The flavor is balanced and makes for a refreshing choice for the tropical weather of Costa Rica. Imperial Light and Imperial Silver are relatively new brews; both are lighter than the traditional Imperial and have lower alcohol content.

02 of 04


Pilsen on the porch

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Created in 1888, Pilsen is the brew with the longest history in Costa Rica. It has 5.1 percent alcohol content, making it among the highest of Florida’s beers. It's a so-called blond beer because of its light color. The flavor could be characterized as bitter and pairs well with any meal.

03 of 04

Rock Ice, Rock Ice Limon, and Rock Ice Golden Monkey

A glass of Imperial and Rock Ice Limon

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Brewed for the first time in 1995, these beers are the babies of the bunch. They are “ice beers,” which means after brewing in the usual manner, they are chilled so that some of the water in the brew turns to ice crystals. After the beer ages, Florida filters out the ice, and what is left is 5.2 percent alcohol content and a smoother flavor. Rock Ice Limon has a strong citric flavor, while Rock Ice Golden Monkey leans more toward the fruity side.

04 of 04

Bavaria, Bavaria Dark, Bavaria Light

Bavaria dark beer in a clear glass

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Bavaria, first brewed in 1932, is Costa Rica’s premium line. It won awards in the Monde Selection contest in 2006 and 2007 in Belgium. It is characterized as a “Dortmunder” beer, meaning it is a full-bodied, moderately hopped beer with at least a 5 percent alcoholic content. Bavaria Dark is the only dark beer option out of all of Florida’s brews.