Gigante is the small brewery that’s big on flavour. They’ve reopened and are ready to go.
Cervecería Gigante is the creation of Californian Will Catlett, who moved to Bogotá seven years ago and started up an Italian restaurant in La Candelaria. He became interested in brewing, with the basic idea to ‘make good beer and share it’. Will started home brewing and selling at small events, and at the end of 2015, this idea turned into a small Bogotá craft brewery ironically called Cervecería Gigante. He now works with two other brewers, Kristian and Juan Cuervo, and has been joined on the business side of things by Irishman Andy Connolly. Whilst the beers are essentially the same three styles Will was making back in the day, he and Andy now have a stylish gastropub on Plaza Lourdes in Chapinero, which they’re reopening today in this new, post-lockdown city.
The pub had only been open just over three months when Bogotá went into Covid quarantine, during which they’ve been hosting ‘Sunday Sessions’ – guest DJ performances at the bar, which they broadcast live on Facebook. Live original music is something Will believes has always been lacking from Bogotá’s craft beer scene and he’s hoping to give these musicians a physical audience now that we’re allowed out again.
Will’s culinary background has remained an influence on the business and Gigante offers American-style bar food to go with the beer, the marquee item on the menu being gourmet sausages that Will himself makes. Currently on offer are mango and jalapeño, Louisiana Cajun, pork and apple, and pork and leek. He also does his own corned beef and pickles, as well as a range of deli-style sandwiches.
The three core beers that have given Gigante its reputation on the scene since the very beginning are the Sequoia Red IPA, Cloudkicker Porter and Mokarran Pale Ale (formerly known to long-time clientele as the Citra Pale Ale). Gigante also have two seasonal beers right now: Tunjo Kölsch and Beithir Scotch Ale.
I’m not a big fan of strong ales and at 9.3% abv, I’d be lying if I said the Beithir Scotch Ale jumped off the beer list at me. However, this one is right on the money. Unlike many strong ales, it hides the alcohol seamlessly behind a complex mix of wood (from a touch of smoked malt), prunes, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Being named after a mythical Scottish dragon fits the raw power of the beer, but I happily polished off two on the bounce the other night whereas many other versions of this style would have me fighting my way through one.
How to get ‘em
A week ago I would have said the best way to get these beers is via WhatsApp (message Gaby on 3187904617), Instagram or Facebook. However, now you can pop into the bar and order them off the menu yourself on calle 63A #10-46! Gigante will be temporarily open Thursday through Sunday, from midday to 9pm, starting today.
If you’re still a bit reluctant to leave the house though, you can still get the beers delivered straight to your door. A six pack costs $40,000 COP and a slab of 24 is $145,000. They also do 20L kegs for $220,000 and 50L for $500,000