Cervecería Libre (“Free Brewery”) is the newest brewpub to open its doors in Medellin.
Located in Barrio Colombia, a few blocks from the Industriales metro station, Ciudad del Rio, and a dozen dance clubs, Cervecería Libre is easy to find, and well worth a visit if you value good beer and music.
I recently went to check it out on a Friday night, along with friends Karen and Eric.
As usual, I arrived early, and took a seat at the bar. A chalkboard menu featured all the available beers, their types, alcohol content, and prices.
Libre currently brews four types of beer, all of which are available on tap:
- Libre Pasion – A fruity American Wheat Ale
- Libre IPA – An India Pale Ale
- Libre Avellana – A Brown Ale
- Libre Stout – A Porter
However as they were still in the process of getting up and running, only the Pasion and IPA were available that night. They were sold out on the Avellana, and hadn’t brewed a big batch of the Stout yet (look for it by mid-December). Their beers are not available by bottle at this time.
Cervecería Libre is the only bar I know of in Medellin to offer all three types of beer, plus they sell their own beers on draft. These guys have their priorities.
First and foremost, they want to share their passion for good beer, whether it’s one they make themselves, or from another company. Making money is secondary.
My first beer of the night was the Libre Pasion. It had a strong maracuya flavor, and was a little too sweet for my taste, but that didn’t stop me from finishing it. I prefer medium to darker beers, so I’d normally go straight for a stout.
Karen and Eric arrived as I was working my way through the Libre Pasion and learning more about Cervecería Libre from the staff.
Like so many microbrews in the United States, it began with the Colombian owners brewing their own beer from a kit at home.
They soon realized they couldn’t go back to drinking the national beers, which lacked diversity and flavor. As friends began to show interest and encourage them to begin selling their beer, a new business was born.
My second beer of the night was the Libre IPA. It was more my style, and as we were all talking, I heard the girl who’d taken a seat to my right mention how much she liked it.
Phyllis had stumbled across Cervecería Libre the night before, totally by chance, as she’d gotten lost walking around the area.
She was visiting Medellin and Colombia for the first time, and happened to read this blog. Not only that, she had just opened her own microbrewery in San Francisco, and therefore knew her beers.
I can’t tell one IPA from another, but Phyllis was visibly impressed with the Libre IPA, and at the same time in shock to have found it in Colombia of all countries.
My third beer of the night was a Bogota Beer Company’s Chapinero Porter. Having tasted all the beers on offer by the big microbrews, the BBC Chapinero Porter remains my favorite.
As a consumer and bar patron, I appreciated Cervecería Libre’s liberal approach toward offering beers from their competitors.
Tours of the facilities are available upon request. The scale of operations is much smaller than what you’ll see at 3 Cordilleras or Apostol, but the equipment had an endearing quality.
Unlike the other companies which imported everything from abroad, Cervecería Libre had most of the equipment custom manufactured here in Medellin.
The guys behind Cervecería Libre know the freshest, best tasting beers are served on draft, not from a bottle.
To ensure they’re serving their beers, as well as others, properly, they had a custom refrigeration unit built for the bar.
It allows them to serve up to 12 beers on tap, without concerns about the beer going bad because it’s not being properly maintained. I don’t know of another bar in Medellin that offers as many beers on tap as Cervecería Libre.
The hours continued to pass as we all talked, and ordered more beers, and commented on the music, which was like an All-Star Tribute to my teenage years.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Primus, Hole. We were offered the chance to suggest music, but I was completely content with their playlists.
You won’t find mixed drinks here, nor guaro or rum. What you will find are 12 of Colombia’s best beers on tap, plus more by the bottle. Passionate owners, friendly patrons, and great music.
Cervecería Libre may just be the best little bar in Medellin.