As mentioned in our Costa Rica Craft Beer overview getting craft beer in La Fortuna has always been a challenge; getting it on tap was completely out of the question. That changed in October 2016 when the La Fortuna Pub opened. I had the chance to check out the La Fortuna Pub’s food and beer recently, as well as chat with one of the co-owners and the head chef about their plans for craft beer and good pub food in La Fortuna.
The La Fortuna Pub is located on the upper side of town, heading up towards the volcano (see the map below). The location has ample parking (which is rare among restaurants in the area) and is easy to find. Right now they’re just getting started in terms of decorating the place, so it doesn’t really have a true “pub” feel yet in terms of ambiance, but it’s also only been open for ten days as of this writing so I’m sure that will come with time.
At present La Fortuna Pub brands itself as a “Lake Arenal Brewery Outpost”; however, they’re not actually owned or operated by the folks at Lake Arenal Brewery. I talked with Michael Arias one of the owners about their plans for the La Fortuna Pub. He explained that getting the necessary certifications to brew and serve on premise as a pub is complicated and takes time. Additionally they need to do some retrofitting to the building in order to meet the code requirements for the brewery side of things. Thus to start out they decided to form a partnership with Lake Arenal Brewery while they get their own side of things going to add to the selection.
At present they’re working on some beers of their own including a 13 hop-blend IPA and a (locally sourced) chocolate stout. They seem committed to providing not just craft beer, but good craft beer in the La Fortuna area. One of the other owners recently did a whistle stop tour of Canada in that he literally stopped at the Steam Whistle brewery in Toronto, among others. In the various breweries in Canada he learned from established and successful brewers what it takes to make good craft beer. They’re also collaborating with one of the only certified master brewers in Costa Rica as well.
I talked with their head chef for a while about the vision for the food. One of the great things that a pub offers besides good beer is that they’re known for delicious food and unique takes on common cuisine. I was there during their special Oktoberfest event so I had some German Sausage that was a special for that weekend only, but also got to sample a bit of the normal menu. For example they have a “Chori Pan” which is a house made sausage that is a blend of 80% ground pork and 20% Pancetta. It’s served on a house made roll with (also house made) Argentinean Chimichurri. It was very tasty. They also offer the standard pub fare of wings, burgers, etc. There are cocktails as well for the non-beer aficionados among your group.
I like living in Costa Rica, but the lack of variety of flavors in the cuisine has always been difficult for me to accept. Thus it was refreshing to see the plans that their (Costa Rican) chef has in mind. He gets imported spices that aren’t available locally ranging from various varieties of paprika to dried ginger, cardamom, and types of peppercorn. They have plans for artesanal breads and all kinds of variations on common foods that a good pub is known for. I see a lot of potential there for food and hopefully the beer they’re working on turns out as good as it sounds like it will.
For craft beer lovers I highly suggest checking out the La Fortuna Pub on your trip. For an overview of the beers they currently have on tap check out our review of the Lake Arenal Brewery.