Short on time? 20Mission boasts the best craft beer in Medellin.
From rum to coffee to aguapanela, Medellín is famous for its beverages. However, one you probably haven’t heard that much about is beer.
Believe it or not, Medellín has a budding craft beer scene with several local microbreweries and taprooms devoted to local and regional styles.
Even if you’re not a craft beer enthusiast, you should check them out. Unique flavors, delicious local food, and live music make it one of the top Medellín experiences.
Plus, you get to be a frontrunner in a new scene.
So, are you ready to check out the best beers in the city? Let’s dive into some of the top spots in town.
20Mission doesn’t just have some of the best beer I’ve had in Medellín. It has some of the best beer I’ve had. Period.
The microbrewery is run by a team of Colombians and Americans with backgrounds in brewing, science, and business.
In 2018 they saw a vacuum in Medellín for craft beer and decided to fill it.
You can find 20Mission’s beer all over Medellín in local bars, restaurants, and supermarkets. However, I’d highly recommend visiting the 20Mission gastropub where you can tour the brewery and order a flight, or cata, that lets you try all six styles.
Along with your flight, order some of 20Mission’s phenomenal food. What makes it so great is that it’s all combined with marinades and sauces made from the brewery’s own beer. For example, the ribs, which would be my personal recommendation, come with Porter barbecue sauce.
Finally, it’s worth going to 20Mission on a night when they have live music, which is every Thursday and Saturday. Along with tributes to legendary musicians and bands like Tom Petty, U2, and Radiohead, they also host local and national artists like Santy Clap and Don Tetto.
What’s on Tap
Now with regular shipments of barley malt and hops coming in from overseas, they produce six artisanal styles using their extensive brewery located in Manila:
Will, their passionate beer master who spends most days in the lab designing new styles, told me that 20Mission’s flavors are designed to appeal to Colombian tastes and a population generally new to craft beer.
That means a greater focus on sweet over bitter. If you’re a big IPA drinker, this might put you off, but it shouldn’t. All the beers are a smooth balance of hops and malt with soft finishes and a mellowness that comes from the pure Medellín water used in the brewing process.
While the team told me the IPA and Pale Ale were their best-selling styles, my personal favorite was the Porter, which is rarely my go-to.
3 Cordilleras is another fantastic microbrewery located right on the border of El Poblado and La Candelaria. You’ll see their brand throughout Medellín and Colombia in general since they also have a location in Bogotá.
3 Cordilleras does have brewery tours that you can reserve in advance, but they don’t have an extensive gastropub like 20Mission. That said, they do have pretty good pub snacks, especially the nachos. Plus, the live music is incredible.
When I went they had a Cuban band whose musical energy kept my friends and I captivated for several hours while we tried each beer.
What’s on Tap
Like 20Mission, they have six proprietary styles:
Blanca (wheat ale)
Mulata (amber ale)
Also keeping with Colombian tastes, the beers are a bit sweeter. In fact, the Rosada is so fruity and sweet that I thought it was a wine-beer hybrid at first. If you don’t usually like beer, this is a good one to try.
For the usual craft beer lover, the Mestiza is your standard hoppy go-to, while a German beer lover such as myself will probably enjoy my personal favorite, the Mulata.
This petite purveyor of craft brew hoppyness in the heart of Poblado sits on a little side street between Calle 10 and Calle 10a.
Brewed on-site, Cerveceria Maestre’s bitter, stout, IPA, and pale ale, have been keeping the punters happy since founders Mario Hazbun and Laura Mesa first turned on the taps in 2017. The garage-sized venue has got a local pub vibe, spilling out onto the street.
Thankfully, a faithful crowd kept the bar going through the pandemic ordering the craft brews to go. The golden ale, with the hint of a zesty British bitter, is a keeper.
One of the pioneering micro-breweries in Medellin, Cerveceria Libre, has been brewing its way into the hearts of Medellin’s craft beer aficionados since 2014. Its built a strong stable of IPAs since it hit the scene with its fruity debut, Pasion. Cerveceria Libre’s creations are 100% Colombian working with some of our favourite local flavors. We’re fans of the brown ale with a hint of coffee, their belgian beer aged in Aguardiente barrels and the double IPA, which at 7.5% lives up to the brewer’s name setting you free of all your inhibitions by round two.
BBC stands for Bogotá Beer Company, so no, it’s not actually Medellín local beer, but it is still a Colombian beer company that’s become increasingly popular across the country.
The great thing about BBC in Medellín is that they have numerous pub locations across the city including one just a few blocks from Parque Lleras in Poblado and another just at the end of La 70 beneath the Factory Lofts in the Laureles sector of town.
What’s on Tap
In general, I’d say BBC beer styles have more standard flavor pallets than the smaller Medellín microbreweries. Although, there are definitely mellow sweet options as well.
Specifically, their six main styles are:
Cajicá (blonde honey ale)
Lager (blonde lager)
Bacatá (wheat beer)
They also regularly come out with new styles like the Salitre, a German Gose style beer and one of my favorites.
At most of the pubs, you can order a flight that lets you try at least four of the beers they have on tap at the time.
Tucked away in a somewhat obscure location next to Unicentro in southern Laureles, Punta Arena is a small taproom with almost exclusively outdoor seating that serves, without a doubt, the best selection of craft beer, both local and otherwise, that you’ll find in Medellín.
They serve some 40 beers that they list along with their style and alcohol content on large TV screens in addition to a chalkboard. If you want to try more than one and still be able to walk home, I suggest ordering a four-beer flight.
Punta Arena has great food too, including standard pub fare in addition to traditional Antioquian dishes like arepas with chicharrón and my personal recommendation, the platano macho.
Spend a warm night relaxing with good beer, delicious food, a soccer game, and friendly staff. I can’t say enough about this bar.
What’s on Tap
Punta Arena regularly rotates in new local beers, but these were a few of my favorites last time I went:
Acacia Irish Stout:Acacia is one of my favorite local Medellín microbreweries, but they don’t seem to like the limelight and don’t have their own gastropub as far as I know. (If you find one, please tell me.) Anyway, this particular beer is full but less creamy than a traditional Irish Stout with strong hints of coffee.
Cerbëstial Red Orange Ale: Cerbëstial is another tiny brewery in Medellín that actually has a small cafe in Belen. Their Red Orange Ale is a good choice for traditional beer lovers who want to try something different. It’s not as fruity as you’d expect but instead has a bitter flavor with a memorable orange finish.
La Milagrosa Blonde Ale: La Milagrosa is a microbrewery based in Bogotá. Their Blonde Ale is light and fruity.