After our big splash on grain and grape in the December issue, we got a lot of feedback and invitations to events. Which is great because there is a lot more to say about both beer and wine. Today we’re focussing on one of the capital’s quickest rising microbreweries, Ragnarök
They got in touch with us about something they thought might interest both us, and our ever-inquisitive readership. And so it came to pass that we found ourselves behind Corferías, a surprisingly nice neighbourhood oft-overlooked by those that rarely stray far from the Septima.
Why? To take in the unique atmosphere of a Yulefest, celebrating Viking culture through games, lights and of course, a whole shedload of Ragnarök beer. The fine family behind Ragnarök have a good promotion system and put on a fair few events, including hosting a bike-tour explaining all about craft beer.
We tracked down main man Raul Tovar, resplendent in a chain mail tunic constructed from ring-pulls, and got the low-down on the brewery. Exuding an air of calm competence, Raul explains why they chose to hold a Yulefest in this most tropical of countries. “We want to share the Nordic culture with the people of Bogotá, to enjoy Viking activities such as arm-wrestling, tug of war and traditional board games. Yulefest is like Christmas, a pagan festival from before Christianity, and we want to give that idea to the people of Bogotá.” He gives good reasons for the Viking theme being so strongly represented throughout the brewery: “It’s easier to sell with a strong theme. With these images, we feel we’re closer to a European beer, and the customers seem to think so too. We want to explain that Vikings are not bad people, just as beer doesn’t have to be bad. Of course, a lot of beers are bad, but there’s more than just poor quality lager here. Beer has a lot of possibility.”
He’s quite correct, and when I speak to his father later, the stern head brewer beams with pride when I tell him that many of his beers remind me of beers from back home in the UK. It’s a real family business, Raul’s father having stepped down as a master brewer at Bavaria to make good beer, entrusting Raúl with marketing and roping in various cousins, siblings and aunties. Tonight, they have all five of their regular beers on sale, plus the alcohol-free variety (I don’t agree with all of the brewery’s decisions) and a quite delicious seasonal special called Odisea. Weighing in at a whopping 10%, this Imperial Stout has more body than Thor and hits you like Molnir. It’s velvety, almost like drinking port wine, and would be a cracking nightcap after the heavy food of Christmas.
Ragnarök beers are easier to find than some of the other microbreweries in Bogotá. Though few, the points are pretty popular and the list includes all three of the Irish Pubs, as well as the Corner Café in Candelaria. Of course, there’s always their website, or for those of you with interneted googlephones, Facebook. After all, you can moan about what’s not here, drink overpriced imports like Miller Light, or support a local success story while enjoying quality beer. I know which option this Viking prefers!