Angry Goats is the definition of a “micro” brewery; they also make some of the very best beer in Costa Rica. I recently got to spend a bit of time chatting with Angry Goat’s brewmaster John and sampling beer at the brewery in Playas del Coco located at the Coconutz Sports Bar.
They truly are a small operation right now; John splits his time between brewing at Angry Goats and living in Albequrque, New Mexico. When asked about the production of beer there his answer was “We brew two kegs a day. Actually we brew one keg twice a day” as he pointed out their small brewing setup. Those small kegs turn the staples of nutrition into the nectar of the gods.
At present Angry Goats is brewing about seven beers regularly. They have five staples (an IPA, Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, and a Stout) as well as an (awesome) Coconut Stout and other beers they brew at times. They’re also bottling a Russian Imperial Stout that comes in at a hefty 10.2% ABV.
I asked about future plans and John mentioned a few ideas that he has in mind like a Jalapeño Red Beer. Little by little they will continue to grow and expand the brewing operations. I look forward to the day when I can sit down with a bottle Angry Goats at my house because the current options here for angry goats are not nearly as inviting.
At present you can find Angry Goats beer at Sharky’s in Tamarindo, Numu in Potrero, Tikis in Brasilito, and Café Europa near the Liberia Airport in addition to at the brewery in Playas del Coco.
This is one of their newer beers and surprisingly it was my favorite. I’m not a stout/porter guy in general, but I’ve been frequently surprised by the really great stouts being made here in Costa Rica (namely the inMORAl from Tierra y Libertad and the Black Ash Stout from Lake Arenal Brewery). As I’ve said before my taste preference with a stout is not to be overly toasty or coffee like, and the Coconut Porter fits that description to a T. The beer is subtle and smooth. The coconut gives it a pleasant flavor while not being at all overly sweet. There’s not sugar added to this porter, just coconut for flavoring. It’s also a bit stronger than the other Porter at 6.8% ABV (compared to 5.9%). Of all the beers I got to try that day this was my favorite.
This was my first exposure to Angry Goats beer back in February of 2016, and it could conceivably move up to the #1 spot. We went to a small café near Liberia Airport for a quick lunch and they had this on tap. I remember it was amazing, sadly that is all I remember. Coconutz only has 5 tap handles and they’re currently brewing 6 beers to have on draught.
When I stopped at the brewery recently they’d just switched out the IPA for the Coconut Porter. Due to their being a truly “micro” brewery at this time they’re only distributing to four places outside of Coconutz and they’re all 4+ hours from La Fortuna. The next time I get a chance to try their IPA though I’ll give a more detailed description. In the mean time, try it for yourself–it’s good stuff!
Those two are what I’d say are in the “Exceptional” category for Craft Beer in Costa Rica. Angry Goats doesn’t have anything I’d consider to be below average; the rest of the beer I’d define as being between very good to above average.
Pura Vida Porter
This is the non-coconutty sibling of the Coconut Porter. It is similar, but lacks the added flavor profile that the coconuts add to its younger, bolder brother. As porters go the flavor profile is not very strong and has a slightly nutty flavor that isn’t overly toasted which I personally like. It comes in at only 5.9% ABV so it’s on the lighter-middle of the scale for a porter in that respect as well. It’s a middle of the road porter (which I say in a good way) the flavor is good and doesn’t go too much to an extreme with any specific flavor.
46.9 Amber Ale
This amber ale has a fruity flavor that I had a hard time defining. The after taste lingers on for a bit and was very pleasant. There’s a funny story behind the name of this beer.
Angry Goats is a hockey team in Colorado whose members started the brewery. They said this: “While coming up with names we decided one beer had to named after a very funny hockey story. To us at least. We play every year in a tournament in Breckenridge, Colorado. Our 3rd year we had still never won a game in the tourney and were leading a game 1 to 0 with 46.9 seconds left. I was the team captain and made a decision to put our best players on the ice. Jimmy one of our worst players had just started his shift and when I pulled him he lost his mind. Started throwing his gear and yelling about it was his turn and stormed off to the locker room. 46.9 seconds later we won the game . So Jimmy has never lived that down. His number now is 46.9 on the hockey jersey.” And thus we have the 46.9 Amber Ale.
Golden Iguana (Blonde)
The Golden Iguana (Iguana de Oro) also has a sweet, malty flavor at the beginning, and fades rather quickly. John said that he adds a little bit of malt (but no added sugar) to the brew to give it that flavor.
Coconutz Pale Ale
One of the biggest problems in Costa Rica is that the craft beer scene has had to rely heavily on tourists. The local options for beer have been so limited for so long that there just isn’t an appreciation among the vast majority of the locals for good beer and thus little willingness to pay the extra money to get something that isn’t the domestic swill. To help ease that transition many craft brewers are brewing a fairly run of the mill, mild pale ale that is a gradual step up from Imperial (the domestic king of beers in Costa Rica).
The Coconutz Pale Ale was created with that in mind, to make a beer that has a good flavor while not getting too much into the more exotic flavor combinations of something like the Coconut Porter. It does it’s job and does it well, it’s a nice slightly hoppy beer coming in at 6.1% ABV and 33 IBU. A good refreshing beer to start off, especially if you’re coming in from a hot day on the beach.
Pain Level 10 Russian Imperial Stout
This beer is bottle only and thus not available on tap. John was kind enough to gift me a bottle to take home and sample later. At 10.2% ABV there was no way I’d be able to sample that (plus the rest of the beers) and still drive home. Thanks again for the beer John!
This was a beer that I think was good, but not my personal taste so I can’t give the best opinion on it. I shared it with my father who is an avid beer lover and he enjoyed it. I have a bias against (or just a dislike of the flavor) really toasty, strong stouts so I couldn’t really appreciate this one to the full. If strong, bold stouts are your thing by all means pick up a bottle.
This is the only beer that really has any “added ingredients” (other than coconut in the porter) in that they add a bit of unprocessed, unrefined cane sugar (what we call “tapa dulce” here in Costa Rica) to help the fermenting and give it more flavor. The natural molasses in the sugar contributes to the flavor of the beer.