Casa Bruja - Respeta el Lupolo!
Parque Industrial del Este, Panama City, Panama
Although small compared to its bigger neighbors in the industrial park East of Panama City, all the security guards know where to find them when you ask, “Donde es Casa Bruja?” I learned of this new brewery when I was in Panama City with the family over the holidays. One afternoon a waitress suggested we try Fula – a tropical blonde – straightforward nose but unique aftertaste. Now – on an intended 6-hour layover – I stopped by to learn more about Casa Bruja (the Witch House). Owner-brewer Jonathan, who learned the trade at BrewDog in Scotland, and Stefano, the new generation head brewer with Italian, German and Tico roots, were the perfect hosts – knowledgeable about their beers, fun to share stories and beer with, and eager to learn.
I had already had my fair share of Fula a couple weeks ago, a great beer for the Panamanian weather and food so it was time try some of the other beers. The highlight might have been Mango Biche - a mango sour - a great story of a forgotten barrel now probably the best intended sour beer I have ever had in Central America. High marks too for Chitra, “the little mosquito,” a very sessionable IPA with a rich bouquet of Mosaic and Citra. Next beer did not disappoint either, a series of Goses called Brujeria. We tried two versions, a bottled, older version and a new – fresh from the tank – lovely mix of sweet, salty and almost mineral undertones. Stefano mentioned that this beer destined to pair well with the riches of the Panamanian kitchen: sour and ripe fruits, salty dishes, ceviche. I was thirsty – really? – so they brought me a Belgian white, a style from the motherland, very fresh Tres Triste Tigres. This beer had a note, a mix of lemon verbena and coriander. Jonathan pointed out that the Panamanian oranges they use are almost green and very lemony, lovely these local ingredients.
There was a flight to catch, Copa 302 to Los Angeles was not waiting forever. We ended the visit with more of the brewery team, Carolina, Jessica, and Carlos at the bar. Casa Bruja, a must stop for every fan of real well crafted beer visiting Panama City or changing planes at Tocumen. A passionate brewery team surely on their way to make a mark well beyond the borders of Panama. They remind me of the reason why we all started brewing and why we love good beer.
Respeta el Lupolo!
proost: [noun] “cheers!” in Flemish; usually said when drinking.