Cuba remains one of the few command economies left on earth (not communist). They also have nice beaches and reasonably priced holidays. All of these things piqued my interest and as a result, you my readers (all five of you), get a guide to Cuban beer.
Remember the Cuban economy is directed by the state, such a system often has the result of limiting consumer selection which is the case in terms of the beer industry in Cuba. Only two Macro options exist in Cuba and i believe they are both owned by the same group.
Cristal- A light beer that is very clear (some might say “crystal”?) and very clean tasting. No hop profile please and entirely inoffensive in contrast to maybe a kokanee. (saw this beer the other day at a local bottleshop… wtf)
Bucanero FUERTE- Bucanero pours a slightly more amber colour and I’d hazard a guess its got some crystal 15-30 in its grain bill. This beer being FUERTE (that means STRONG in english) has a slightly higher ABV this is matched by a maltiness not found in the Cristal but still entirely inoffensive.
Now to the Craft beer… “WHAT CUBA HAS CRAFT BEER?” well yes, in the loosest sense of the word.
In the beautiful old town of Havana you will find the only Brew Pub in Cuba. the Pub part itself is entirely unexciting relative to any other food option in Havana and although they say they brew beer there I can’t really understand how or when considering their kettle (which looks more like a still) sits behind the bar. In any case they serve 3 beers here:
Negra: YICK! yea its dark it also tastes like halfway fermented wort thats been carbonated.
Oscura: An amber in colour, molasseseseses-y sweetness (for the record i stylized the word “molasses” in order to convey to you the reader the sickly sweetness of the beer. ITS IDIOMATIC YO!
Crystal: I gave up and went and bought a Bucanero.
CONCLUSION: There aren’t a lot of options for beer in Cuba. The best choice in my opinion is Bucanero at least its decently balanced and has some flavour. You may have noticed there was no name for the Brew Pub. That’s because who would want to go there and also because i can’t seem to find it online as Cuba and internet don’t work together well. If you are really interested take a look at this link on trip advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g147271-d311153-r119434677-Old_Square_Plaza_Vieja-Havana_Cuba.html