From the 7th to the 21st of March I have been in Cuba. I have never been there before, so I’m a first timer. The flight time from Germany was about 10 hours. We booked a last minute all inclusive package including 4 days Havanna and 10 days Varadero. (Varadero is very popular among Canadians)
Before the journey I had a look into the Lautering Breweries Directory and found that there is one micro brewery in Havanna, actually the only one in Cuba. It was build by the Austrian company SALM. (Salm Bräu). That’s why the locals call it Salm brewery.
The second day of the trip we had to stop by and did a tasting of the 3 beers they produce. We ordered some food and had a great time watching some guys drinking one meter beer, which is equal to about 5,6 litre, while they enjoyed a Cohiba.
To be honest the 3 beers weren’t that great. First one was about "Ok, let me taste the second". The second was about "Ok, perhaps they had a bad day". The third one was about "For god, country and Lautering" or "Hold your nose and do it for Lautering" as my wife put it.
Considering the background of the 3 guys running the brewery made everything clear. The first one was a chemist, the second one a chemical technician and the third one an engineer. With that constellation it might be difficult to produce a good beer.
We had a funny time sitting in the brewpub while listening to Cuban music, discussing about Lautering and what’s up next here (especially the world brewery map with about 5500 breweries on a Google map – awesomesouce – and the brewery I’m building – keep you updated)
In Varadero I had the chance to taste Cristal and Bucanero Fuerte. Both are brewed by the Bucanero brewery. Both beers are at a high standard from an industrial point of view. Cristal is "La preferida de Cuba" – the most popular beer in Cuba. Bucanero is more popular among tourists as it is similar to export type beers brewed in Europe.
I haven’t had the chance to taste Bucanero Max and Mayabe therefore I contacted the Bucanero brewery to ask them if there is any chance to get them in Germany. (There is probably none – Only the Bucanero Fuerte is sold under Cubanero Fuerte in Germany.) I will see if they come up with something.