Although Argentina has a longstanding tradition of home brewing (in Córdoba and Patagonia), when people here think beverages, a cold beer isn't normally what comes to mind. A generous pour of malbec? Duh. A steaming gourd of yerba mate? Sure. An icy glass of fernet y coca? Maybe. But a quick stroll through the city's trendier neighborhoods proves that things are changing fast. The global craft beer craze has hit the capital with a foamy vengeance, and over the last few years microbreweries, beer markets and brewpubs have taken over the city's bar scene. On a sweaty Buenos Aires summer day, we couldn't be happier. Here's a breakdown of our favorites.

 


Bélgica

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Bélgica is one of a small selection of breweries owned by actual brewers. And this one might as well be brewing royalty. Juguetes Perdidos ("lost toys") refers to the brewery’s philosophy of never repeating the same recipe twice. “Every beer is a limited edition,” co-owner Sergio Picciani says. “People stop by and ask for something they tried just a few months back, but when it’s gone it’s gone.” The result is something of a cult-like following in the local beer community. The first brewery is housed in a renovated corner townhouse that has 12 rotating beers on tap. Picciani has a taste for the uncommon, so don't be surprised to find dubbels, sours and saisons mixed among those porteño favorites, bitter pale ales. And if you’re looking for dessert, head down the road to Firenze Heladeria (Av. Rivadavia 5437) for a scoop of limited-edition ice cream made from a Jamaica Dubbel. 

Where: Av. Pedro Goyena 901, Caballito

When: Mon., Tues. & Sun., 6 p.m.-1 a.m.; Weds. & Thurs., 6 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
More info: Facebook

 

Bierlife

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It's not an exaggeration: Beer is life at this San Telmo beer garden, and the masses are on board. Bierlife is popping every night, and it's not just because it has one of the best happy hours in town. Cofounder Martin Boan created an original space for the city’s biggest fans of cerveza. The bar features 40 taps, and all the food is made with beer as well — think wheat beer pizza dough, short ribs marinated in stout and a "birramisu." For the real aficionados, Boan and his crew organize classes for hopeful beer sommeliers and home brewers as well as the yearly international South Beer Cup. This elementary-school-turned-bar might be enormous, but it fills up fast. Get there early. 

Where: Humberto Primo 670, San Telmo

When: Tues. & Weds., 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Thurs. & Sun., 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m.-2:45 a.m.
More info: 
+54 11 4307 6315; Facebook

 

Cervecería Nacional

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You know that desire to spend the afternoon wandering around a bookstore, just perusing and reading? Okay, now what if the shelves were filled with bottles of beer instead of books? You'll want to linger at Cervecería Nacional, a pioneer on the scene that functions as both a bar with a familial pub vibe and a market selling 100-plus brands of beer from all over the country. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by the crowds: Wiggling your way through them is worth it to browse one of the city’s best-stocked and most diverse libraries of cerveza.

Where: Arévalo 1588, Palermo Hollywood
When: Tues.-Thurs., 6 p.m.-midnight; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
More info: 
Facebook


 

On Tap

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Before Buenos Aires’ beer renaissance, Marcelo Terren worked half the year in the United States' Lake Tahoe and dreamed of the day when he could order a pint of local craft beer in his hometown. As the beer scene grew, Terren decided to do more than just become a regular. He built a bar himself. And then another and another — five in just over a year, to be exact. Now one of Buenos Aires’ most recognizable names, On Tap features 20 taps of mostly local beer — its motto is “Support local beer,” after all. Expect a packed house from open to close, whether you're at the flagship location in Palermo or in the mostly quiet corner of Boedo that houses the newest outpost. And don’t forget to order a plate of chicken fingers. We suspect Terren's brother Fran (co-owner of Cajun fried chicken house NOLA) shared a few pointers with him. 

Where: Various locations

When: Tues., Weds. & Sun., 5 p.m.-midnight; Thurs.-Sat., 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
More info: 
ontap.com.ar

 

BlueDog

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Palermo breweries tend to be big, industrial-looking spaces, so you might not immediately notice BlueDog’s low-key, minimalist aesthetic if it weren’t for the crowd flowing out the front door. The buzz is deserved: This place feels like a neighborhood joint in a sea of impersonal, oversize bars. Owner Lucas Licco, one half of the cousin duo behind the legendary Grunge Brewing Company, mostly fills the taps with his own brews — a collab with Valencian brewers La Socorrada, featuring honey and rosemary, is a house favorite — and other surprise flavors, like a hazelnut ale. Soak up that beer with an order of papas a la huacaina, roasted potatoes drenched in a creamy Peruvian sauce with bits of bacon. 

Where: Gorriti 4758, Palermo Soho

When: Tues.-Thurs. & Sun., 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
More info: +54 11 4832 3226; Facebook

 

Saigón Noodle Bar

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This Vietnamese noodle bar opened in December in a faded bar notable (link is in Spanish; bares notables are famous Buenos Aires cafes deemed culturally significant) on the corner of the Mercado de San Telmo. Guests can saddle up to the L-shaped bar and watch chef Thom Nguyen and his team of friendly young cooks whip up pho, spring rolls served fresh or deep-fried, rice bowls and banh mi while sipping one of nine available beers. The selection is heavy on deep-flavored IPAs that pair well with the notes of ginger and hoisin present in many dishes. We would expect nothing less from the beer-loving owners — this is their second restaurant after the success of the Palermo Hollywood brewery Gull

Where: Bolívar 986, San Telmo
When: Tues.-Fri., 6-11:45 p.m.; Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., noon-11 p.m.
More info: 
+54 11 4555-6523; Facebook


By Kevin Vaughn

When Kevin isn't writing about Buenos Aires food and culture, he's guiding travelers to Buenos Aires with his intimate arts and lifestyle tours via Buenos Aires Art Tours. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.