Looking for best things to do in Bocas Del Toro? How about some local craft beer to spice things up?
This past weekend I got the opportunity to visit the local island microbrewery in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. I reached Wally by phone who works at the brewery, even though it was last minute on my part, I was given a tour of the Bocas Brewery. The actual brewery is in a different location from their brew pub on a beach just outside of town. I was told that Chris would be able to meet me and tell me more about Bocas Brewing.
A brief history: Bocas Brewery was founded by brewmaster Peter Wagener four years ago. Wally and Evan Wild started the Bocas Brewing restaurant three years ago and partnered up with Peter to start the brew facility near the airport. Recently, Chris Alyward was added to the brew team to give much needed energy and talent. Rachel and Chris are also part owners of the company.
I asked Wally about his favorite part of running a craft brewery “My favorite part is being a part of the newly evolving craft beer revolution in Panama. Whether it be perfecting the flavors we have, to exploring new recipes and amazing fruit and flavor combinations that Panama has to offer. We enjoy being able to have the opportunity to represent Bocas del Toro in offering great beer to the people.”
It was my first time to actually go on a tour of a brewery so I was very excited. Chris, the brewer at Bocas Brewery, greeted me with enthusiasm and explained that he would go over the process of making the beer as well as sampling. Bocas Brewing has implemented a 3 barrel system.
As we entered the warehouse, the first machine Chris showed me was called a mash tun which soaks the grain over 240 pounds of it and converts it into sugars for fermentation. The next process for making the beer is the brew kettle which turns it into a sugary liquid. Hops and recipes are added in during this time. After, the heat exchanger is added which cools the liquid down for fermentation. Beer has to be temperature dependent. The next step is fermentation which takes about 10 days or more depending on the beer. There is cold crushing which is filtering the beer then carbonation which takes place in cold temperatures for roughly 24 hours. Next, it is pumped into kegs and pressurized. It is all very technical and is a main reason people go to brewing school to learn the process of making beer.
Later, Chris let me try the amber ale and tropical ale which uses pineapple. Both were very delicious beers and Chris recommended a few places in town I could try it. Chris then showed me some of the varieties of malts and grains. Let’s just say I could see all of the possibilities of beer varieties just from the grains. Ever wonder where that porter or IPA came from? It’s all in malts and grains.
At the end of the tour, I spoke with Chris about the brewing scene in Panama, which is quite small but expanding with other breweries such as Casa Bruja. Also, we talked about the type of beer that Bocas Brewing is providing which is using local ingredients available in Bocas such as pineapples for their tropical ale and other exotic fruits. Bocas Brewing is “pushing the boundaries of craft beer in Panama” in Chris’s own words and I am happy to have visited their brewery and learned more about them. I hope that when you visit Bocas Del Toro you will check out Bocas Brewing for some delicious island craft beer.
Location: Calle Big Creek
Bocas del Toro, Panama 7734