Two Craft Beer to try while in Havana.

While the older generation of Cubans seem to stick to the local rum (I don’t blame them) and the mass produced beer such as Cristal and Bucanero, the younger generation started to discover craft beer. There are now two Microbreweries operating in Havana and more and more Cubans are discovering the art of Craft Beer.

So far, the only microbreweries in Havana and Cuba are Factoria Plaza Vieja in the old town of Havana (this is by far the most touristy one as most of the customers here are foreign tourists) and Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco in an old cigar factory next to the waterfront. Most customers here are locals.
Both microbreweries sell only 3 types of beer Clara, Oscura, and Negra. Light, darker or black beer.

Be in mind that both places open at noon (12.00).

Factoria Plaza Vieja.

The bar at Factoria Plaza Vieja. Notice that they have 5L beer towers.
The bar at Factoria Plaza Vieja. Notice that they have 3L beer towers.

Factoria Plaza Vieja is located on Plaza Vieja which is one out of the four important town squares in Havana, and a major tourist site in itself. So it’s easy to see why this microbrew is very touristy. So this is also a great spot for people watching while having a beer.

The outside area at Factoria Plaza Vieja.
The outside area at Factoria Plaza Vieja.
The outside area at Factoria Plaza Vieja before it opens. Nice and calm
The outside area at Factoria Plaza Vieja before it opens. Nice and calm.
Factoria Plaza Vieja
The Negra / Black beer
Factoria Plaza Vieja
The Clara / Light beer.
Factoria Plaza Vieja
The Oscura / medium dark.

There is no sign that says anything about the % in the beer, but the waiter told me all of the beers are around 4,6%. All the beers cost 2,5 CUC each for a Jarras, and 12 CUC for a 3L tower.  The three beers are decent and refreshing but they do not taste much, not even the black one.

Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco.

The hangar that holds Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco

The second microbrewery in Havana is my personal favorite.
This brewery with a way to long name to write is located on the waterfront right next to the famous tourist market “Antiguos Almacenes San José”.

The brewery is located inside a massive hangar, that used to be a Tabaco factory. It holds the largest bar in all of Cuba, a 37m / 121ft long and can serve up to 400 people.

Inside Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco, alot of space. they put out more tabels and chairs when there´s need for it
Inside Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco, a lot of space. they put out more tables and chairs when there’s need for it.
Stucked up on beer towers.
Stocked up on beer towers.
The Shady one
The Shady one.
The black one.
The Black one.
The light one.
The Light one.

The beer tasted very similar to the ones at Factoria Plaza Vieja. Except from the color difference between the beers there wasn’t much taste difference.

Probably the best thing with this brewery is the location, while Factoria Plaza Vieja is located on a historical square inside the old city, with no natural breeze at all. The Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco offers a lot of natural breeze due to its location right next to the waterfront.

Locals enjoying a beer tower outside in the natural breeze, with a big ship passing by in the background.

Overall none of the microbreweries in Havana are as good as European or American craft beers, but both hold locations that most microbrews can just dream of. I visited Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco most during my visit to Havana, not because of the beer, but rather the relaxing location.

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Where to drink in Havana Cuba?
Where to drink in Havana Cuba?
2 Comments
  1. That’s awesome to see Cuba developing its own Craft beer scene. I would definitely check out the second brewery because of the sheer size and location of it. As for the taste of these craft beers, I am sure this will only get better in time as restrictions on American travellers are alleviated during these next few years. Thanks for the tips! I am definitely adding this to my “must do” list the next time I am in Cuba.

    1. The second brewery had just received more modern brewing equipment from Europe when I was there, so I except the beer quality to improve a lot in the future. I also heard rumors that there were microbrewries under planning in other parts of the country. So the beer future is bright in Cuba:)

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