Tucked down a small side street off of the busy Kennedy Square in Lima, Peru, Cervecería Barbarian is a welcome reprieve from the heat, sun, and hustle and bustle of this megacity. With its bright, hand painted walls, rock and roll tunes, and refreshing cold brews, it’s everything you could hope for from one of Peru’s biggest and most successful craft beer brands. Within your first few steps into Barbarian, you get an immediate feeling of coolness; you know you’re someplace special.
The opportunity to visit Barbarian fell into my lap a couple weeks before leaving on a spontaneous trip to Peru. One of our brewery partnership managers, Mike, found out I was going to Peru and got me in contact with one of the owner and founders, Juan Diego Vasquez, who was enthusiastic about the visit and quick to plan a meet-up at the bar.
After a long day out wandering the city, my friends and I stepped into the enclave of the brewery and were greeted by two of the three co-owners and founders of Cervecería Barbarian.
The brewery was started by Diego Rodriguez, Juan Diego Vasquez, and Ignacio Schwalb, and the Kennedy Square location was their first bar and tasting room in Lima. The bar is really what sets the mood for great beer tasting.
Covered floor to ceiling in vibrant art painted by local female artists from Lima, you feel like you’re drinking beers in a kaleidoscope that has been frozen in place. The effect really draws you in. Along another wall are shelves and shelves of empty beer bottles from innumerable craft beer companies, all of which have been downed by the owners themselves. Underneath this awesome display of beer love, there is another great painting of the brewing process, from start to finish, done in colorful comic strip styling.
The beers at Barbarian though, are the crowning glory in this stunning bar. They range in styles, from Sours to Coffee Pale Ales, and many have engaging titles that are playful puns and Spanish phrases. Most importantly, they are all supremely delicious.
The Chicha Tu Mare was my personal favorite; a uniquely Peruvian take on a Sour made with Peru’s famous sweet Chicha corn. PicoBrew currently offers the Red Ale and this was a great opportunity to try the product fresh out of the tap in the country it comes from (and if you find yourself in Lima, make sure you take the opportunity to try it in person).
It’s clear why this is one of Lima’s beloved breweries and one of Peru’s most successful craft beer companies. The beers are amazing, and quintessentially Peruvian, and the hosts are gracious, savvy, and entirely likable. There’s nothing better than a great brewery being own by great people.
Because Barbarian is so great, we decided to pop into their new Barranco location the following night. This bar is equally as stunning and cool as the Kennedy Park location, with local paintings on the walls and doors that lead out to a little beer garden space at the back. I indulged in a Chicha Tu Mare again and took in the different, but equally as cool, atmosphere in this bar location. As I sat there, I thought to myself, if I lived in Lima, these Barbarian bars and beers would be my go-to.
The moral of this story is simple. If you’re in Peru, these bars are the place to be.
End of story.