Beer Drinkers Guide to Iquitos Peru

by Captain Bill

Beer Drinkers Guide to Iquitos Peru

This guest post by Michael Collis, editor of the Iquitos Times

Bill you have reviewed the food now I have done the beer! Ask your readers to comment on their favorite beer in Iquitos.

Boozers Guide to Iquitos,Peru

I have lived in Iquitos, Peru for 10 years and am considered by some as an expert on local beers. In Iquitos we have 5 brands of Peruvian beer on sale. They are;

  1. Pilsen
  2. Cristal
  3. San Juan
  4. Iquiteña
  5. Cusqueña

For more than 9 years my favorite tiple was Pilsen, that was until about 3 months ago when I tried the Iquiteña Extra which is a delicious full bodied beer brewed here in Iquitos. The Iquiteña brewery opened about 3 years ago and their first beer was undrinkable so they developed the new beer Iquiteña Extra which I must admit is definitely the best beer here in Iquitos and probably in Peru. Being brewed here also means that it does not contain additives that preserve the beer in the tropical climate. The cheapest place to buy a beer or 2 is out from downtown Iquitos where you can get 3 bottles of beer (650 milliliter per bottle, one and a third pints) for only 10 Peruvian soles (about $3.50 US). The cheapest beer in downtown Iquitos can be found at Latidos Bar on the waterfront boulevard at only 4 soles for a large bottle . Most other bars and restaurants charge between 5 and 6.5 soles per bottle.

Enjoy your stay in Iquitos but remember alcohol taken in excess can be harmful to your health.

Leave a comment to let us know, what is your favorite beer to drink in Iquitos?

Beer Drinkers Guide to Iquitos Peru

Guest post by Michael Collis, Iquitos Times

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wally Lloyd June 3, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I have to agree with you about the Iquiteña Extra. The best beer in Iquitos without a doubt.

2 Bill June 5, 2008 at 6:49 am

I only average 1 or 2 beers per week, but I enjoy those beers and want them to be Iquiteña Extra. Pilsen seems flat to me.

Bill Grimes

3 David Volkmann June 6, 2008 at 7:19 pm

I don’t believe I have taken time to read this post and worst yet that I am commenting. Only because we are having tornados right now do I take time to be on this computer. Otherwise I would be fishing. As far as I am concerned any beer in Peru, or South America as far as that goes, is better than anything we have in the states. My favorite also is Iquitena.

4 Brian Gibbs June 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

I have read Mike’s article called “A Beer Drinkers Guide to Iquitos”. Knowing Mike like I do he really should know better. Iquiteña Extra is not anyway better than Pilsen. I have to beggar to differ there Mike.

5 Ray Thompson June 7, 2008 at 10:57 am

Hey Mike perhaps if Iquitna did,nt put a regular add in your paper you might not think the same.

My favourite is Cusquena.

6 david sheridan June 7, 2008 at 11:45 am

I think some of have entirely tgoo much time on my hands. That being said, I disagree with Dave V in that here we have a beer I prefer over all others, Yuengling Lager. In Peru, considering Mike’s educated beer drinkers palate, I defer my vote to him, as long as it is buen helado.

7 frank Thomas June 7, 2008 at 11:52 am

Iquitena beer is , in my opinion, the worst beer. Pilsen is the best

8 Bill Harrison June 7, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Let’s face it,There are only three beers in Iquitos,San Juan,Which I believe is filtered through a goat before being bottled. Iquitenos,Which, at first was brewed in the same fashion as San Juan,But later improved.I think the quality of Iquitenos is sometime good,and also not-so-good.Pilsen Callao is a decent beer,not the best in the world,but it is consistant.My favorite beers are:Stella Artois,and Hineken.

9 dave curington June 7, 2008 at 7:13 pm

when in iquitos pilsen.
when in the states bud light.
but then i only dring 1 or 2 beers a week.

10 Mark Jackson June 8, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I think I would have to say that Cusqueña is my favorite beer at the moment,especially in Peru.

11 Wally Lloyd June 9, 2008 at 7:04 am

In reality we are talking about Lagers here, not beer. I think I could kill for a pint of “Old Speckled Hen” or a pint of “Wadworths 6X”

12 Alan Sinfield June 9, 2008 at 10:58 am

I feel sorry for you all, regarding the beer situation. There are no good beers in Iquitos, only some that are less offensive than others. A good Pisco Sour is in order in times of need. Cannot write any more as my ‘Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale’ is getting warm.

13 Ray Van der Pont June 9, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Mr Currington, Sir,I do not think you are qualified to comment. You say you only drink 2 beers per week and when you are in the U.S. you only drink Budweiser.
I am from Holland where we produce the best beers in the world. Remember Sir, you have only been brewing beer for just over 200 years whereas here in Europe we have been brewing quality beer for over a 1000 years.
I hasten to add, that I guess you come from one of the mid states where there is no culture or taste. You cannot make quality beer or manufacture quality motor cars.
I will be back in Iquitos in October perhaps you will be kind enough to share an Iquitena Extra with me, my shout of course.

14 Jocelyn Pare June 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I think that the heat makes fo rpeole liking a ligther beer like the Iquiteña Extra. The Iquiteña Classic had more body to it, albiet at times seemed to not age very well…especially in the sunlight!!!

15 Marc Plumet June 11, 2008 at 8:59 am

Indeed we are talking about lager – coming from ‘lagern’, to stock in German. All the mentioned beers are lagers in the way they are produced.
That stated the question is ‘What is the best lager ?’
Redefining that question kicks off comment like ‘it has more body’, so what’s the lager ?
it’s some cereal – usually barley, which added to water produce a mixture. Then come malt and water, some time and we add the hop, some time and we add the yeast.
The yeast, as everybody knows is a present of god, it accomplishes the miracle of transforming sugar into alcohol, known as fermentation. At this point we have a disgusting, stinky mixture, full of scum and bubbles.
This process is a common process for all beers. The peculiarities of the lager lay on the use of low temperature and the type of yeast, also whereas the fermentation might go on for other beers (e.g. re-fermentation – double, re-re-fermentation in bottle – triple) it stops here for the lager. After some filtering and some housekeeping we will obtain a drinkable lager.
The quality of a good lager is its pureness, its color, its taste, its absence of remaining fermentation (yeast/sugar) which assures the lager to age very well.
The best quality is reached with the best ingredients of course and with the best knowhow in a traditional way. ‘In a traditional way’ excludes all these new trendy beers sold in see-through, clear white-glass bottles, like ICE beers, LIGHT beers, the corona, and others, these are beers but not lager, they belong to another category, called ‘piss’ which actually makes sense since the more lagers you drink, the more piss you produce.
The most important ingredient as you may have guessed is the water. Knowing that you need in average 12 liters of water to produce 1 liter of beer gives you an idea of its importance.
Considering this, the best beer for me in Peru is the Cusceña. The others still need a long improving life cycle process to reach the level of quality of the cusceña, which on its turn requires the same to reach the level of quality of, let’s say, a Stella Artois, my favorite.

Marc from Belgium

For Ray Van der Pont … I am bit confused … Holland … the best beers in the world ??? I guess it’s a misspelling you probably meant ‘tulips’ instead of ‘beers’, no ?

16 Stefan from La Sala June 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm

To Ray Van der Plonk ,
Yes in Europe we produce the best beers in the world.Out of all those my country Germany is reknown for brewing the best beers in Europe, no one can argue with that.
Now here in Iquitos, in the middle of no where the best beer is without doubt Iquitena Extra. Pilsen always seems flat, San juan has no flavor and Cusquena has nothing.
You can come and sample these beers in my bar “La Sala” which is on the third block of Putumayo.
If you make a comment on this blog you get a free Iquitena Extra ! or a free Bud for Dave Currinton. Cheers.

17 Brian June 12, 2008 at 10:25 am

Had my share of beer in Iquitos, but unfortunately I haven’t made a trip in over a year, (has it been that long?) I haven’t tried the Iquitena Extra. My regular beer has been Cristal, when it’s nice and cold. Phil used to drink it as well when he wasn’t out of it upstairs. In the states I like a brew called Arogant Batard Ale, which is made in Southern California. Looks like Christmas/New Years will be my next visit to Iquitos. See you then!

18 Brian June 12, 2008 at 10:27 am

Arrogant Bastard Ale. Sorry, the keyboard can’t keep up with my typing! 🙂

19 Dale Baskin June 12, 2008 at 1:16 pm


I always thought Iquiteña was pretty bad, but I don´t think I’ve had Iquiteña Extra. That said, I have no doubt that you’ve put a LOT of research into this and promise to try Iquiteña Extra on my next trip. I was always partial to Cristal.

The basic problem is that there really aren’t ANY great beers in Iquitos. No dark beers, no ales, nothing interesting – just a handful of lagers. (Which admittedly work OK in a hot, humid climate!)


20 robbie June 12, 2008 at 1:22 pm

mike i would have to say the best beer would be cold and bought by your goodself when i get the iron bar here we come.rob

21 Jocelyn Pare June 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

gentlemen…please… I think we should try to get some access to a number of beers (whether they be ales. lagers, stouts, bitters, or what have you) and have a taste testing session over 2 days. The firt day to discover them, the second day to test them… blind of course!

22 David June 13, 2008 at 9:29 am

There are no great (or even real good) beers from Iquitos or Peru that I have encountered. The ubiquitous drool known as Pilsen is understandable only if you don’t have 3 more Soles to buy yourself Cusquena instead (buying buy the case, that is). I never liked a beer like Budweiser (try the original Czech Budvar original if in Europe–now that’s a beer) and at least Cusquena is better in my humble opinion. I remember retching on San Juan and Cristal one day. Original Iquitena is crap too. Iquitena Extra is in the ballpark, but is not appropriate for this climate and tends to leave me with a hangover. An Iquitena guy told me several months ago that they were preparing their new answer to Pilsen–I wish them luck. But what I think they or better yet some enterprising individual who starts are microbrewery should produce is a good Heffeweizen–wheat beer. With a wedge of lemon this beer is perfect for a hot sunny day. Sadly it appears that for all the beer drinking in this country they really don’t know what they are doing.

Out here at La Casa Fitzcarraldo our beer selection presently includes Pilsen, Iquitena Extra and Cusquena. We’ve got big and fat American steaks and tasty Argentinian ones too. Poolside lounging is what it’s all about here, and we’re located just minutes by moto from the Plaza/Boulevard area and can guarantee no one will be hassling you to buy chicklets. Come escape Iquitos without ever leaving the city. | tel. 601138 | 2153 Avenida La Marina, located on the left going towards port BellaVista Nanay (across from Trimassa). Still only 5 soles entrance for great poolside food, drinks, super treehouse, nature and general refuge from Iquitos,
(Bed and Breakfast available too — see the website). Open from 9 a.m. daily. Not to be missed!

It would be nice to have a consortium of like-minded individuals with enough collective buying power to be able to import some new beers to Iquitos. Something to consider. Maybe we can all agree on that.

23 Mike Collis June 13, 2008 at 10:28 am

Thank you everyone for your comments,keep em coming. Robbie thank you for your comment , but what I cant understand is that you have read on comments
by our friends from Holland,Germany,England and Belgium claiming their beer is best. You made no mention of what is probably the most famous beer in the world GUINNESS which of course is brewed in your country Ireland. We do not have Guinness here in Iquitos but I have met many tourists and locals who would have killed for a pint. I still say Iquiteña Extra is the best beer in Iquitos,Peru

24 bowie June 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Hi Mike, well about the beer as a good bar owner i do like all the beers mmmhh but after trying some of the cusquena malta i must say this is a very exelent beer.
Soft but with a bite.As all beers served as cold as posible.
off course i will except all beers offert,but after working hours haha.

25 Royce Reed June 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I don’t like the Iquiteño Xtra beer! Too sweet and unfinished tasting…..Crystal or Pilsen for me. We can do a blind taste test if any one would like…maybe we can inaugerate my new bar in my house………

26 Stan Tyminski June 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Pilsen me gusta mas – one Margarita size for dinner is an adventure!

27 alan shoemaker June 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

The Iquiteno Xtra is by far the superior beer here. Crystal would be my second favorite.
When in Cuzco, the cuzqueno is my favorite but it doesn´t travel well, kind of the same problem that Coors beer has in the States.
Now if they would just design a better logo.

28 Anthony June 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

No one mentioned Masato, the best jungle beer!!!

29 ‎‎Adam Morton‎‎ June 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Ok Anthony what is masato ?

30 ‎‎Mike Collis June 14, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Hello adam, I’ll tell you what masato is, its a drink made of fermented yuca. Fermentation is brought on by the women who make it when they spit in the bucket. It smells like its brewed from the sweat out of a trawlerman’s boot, and is especially preferred by those very keen on regurgitation.

Hey everyone, I’ve heard that they have draft beer on tap at the Taberna de Cauchero on the Plaza Castilla,Iquitos,Peru, gonna try an Iquiteña Extra there Sunday lunchtime.

31 alan shoemaker June 14, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Spitting in masato to create a ¨quality product¨does not a beer make.

32 Estrella June 14, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Well..I have grown to enjoy quality rather than quantity. Having just finished an Alaska Amber the best beer in Alaska from my visit there.. I now ponder… I loved Cuzqueno but couldn always find en la selva so Pilsen ( is my definite 2nd favorite Cristal made me gag would only drink if desperate and that could easily happenHa! never tried a San Juan. Iquiteno is my next choice. Having spent a month visiting villages during Carnivalthe local masatos were quite enjoyable also…in the morning I always felt “strong…like anaconda” providing I didnt mix beer with it. I hope to be sweating with you all sometime soon, as Ill be probably checkin out the Races.

33 patri June 14, 2008 at 11:46 pm

I’m sorry to not have tasted an Iquiteno beer yet. I’m in Lima, and haven’t seen or heard about it. But I haven’t looked. Everyone here puts cusqueno on a pedestal, and its ok, but to me the dark cusqueno is peru’s best beer so far. As far as a lager, my fave used to be cusqueno, but i recently tasted Zenda, and both times, liked it very much. Now it is, to me, the best lager in Peru.

Belgium has the best beers, and the variety & flavors available just make your mouth water. There may however be a couple of outstanding German beers. but just a couple.

…in my opinion

oh – and about bud – it was also my favorite in highschool… now new amsterdam, sam adams top my list in the u.s.

34 Michael-Peru June 15, 2008 at 2:40 am

I would have to say that I have had all the beers and lots of each. I feel that a pilsner style beer and all the derivitives thereof, have minor differences. Sweetnes, hoppyness, carbonation etc. These are particularly pleasant or disagreeable depending on the person and their palate. So I dont think any beer can be called the best…unless it is the last one in the cooler.
I would also like to say that judging a beer as better or worse is a moot point (which makes this little blog cool). Beers are like women when trying to judge them as better or worse. They are all great, all have their particular characteristics and most notable… are pleasantly intoxicating! Cheers and good will to all, Michael

35 Steve McAlear June 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Any beer served by the delightful young Lady at Latidos has to be nearly perfect but the I ice cold Pilsen does it for me!

36 Anthony June 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm

My neighbor although authorized to spit in her masato due to the lack of teeth and age, only cuts pieces of sugar cane in her masatero to give it the punch. It is not original but the thought helps it go down much easier.

37 Peirce Beach June 16, 2008 at 11:25 am

I should begin by saying that my opinions are based on what was avaliable 2 years ago, with that being said I much prefer Pilsen. I found no Peruvian dark beers (I do prefer dark) that were palatable. After reading this however, I am looking forward to trying an Iquiteña Extra.

38 Lalo Calderon June 17, 2008 at 6:52 pm

I was beginning to wonder where you all where, you all got lost in all those blogs i’ve been reading…\

ok, I liked Pilsen, very cold only!

otherwise it stank!

39 Don Harris June 18, 2008 at 11:29 am

Hi ya all !

I was reading La Republica yesterday. La Republica is the number one daily in Peru. It had an article entitled (in spanish) “Belgium beer is the King of Beers”.

So it looks like La Republica agrees with Marc, Belgium does brew the Worlds best beer !

40 Mike Collis June 18, 2008 at 11:37 am

To Steve, next time you’e in Iquitos you must try the Iquiteña Extra its knocks the shit off Pilsen.

If anyone wants to see the waitress Steve was talking about at Latidos just click here ;

41 BRETT ASCOTT June 21, 2008 at 11:03 am

“Beer? Never met one I didn’t like!” – Norm, in “Cheers”

42 Wally Lloyd June 23, 2008 at 3:05 pm

I think I might have found a beer better than Iquiteña Extra. Made by the same Brewery and called “Amazonica Chopp”

43 Mike July 5, 2008 at 10:19 am

Hello, I wrote in my little article about peruvian beers that after 9 years of being a Pilsen fan I changed to Iquiteña Extra. I found this beer to be excellent.
I am a person pretty well set in my ways and it was difficult to change to another beer, but I’m glad that I did.
Then last evening at Latidos Bar , Carlos the owner invited me to try another new beer Iquiteña Amazonica. I was reluctant but Carlos said “Its on the house !” so I tried one, then another and then another. I liked Iquiteña Extra but this Amazonica is fantastic with a great taste and it seems a lot lighter than the Extra, So now I’m on Amazonica.
I think that if this relatively new Brewery keeps on producing this type of beer they will do really well. Try one.

44 Joe Boatright July 11, 2008 at 10:39 am

Best Beer . No such thing , Beer is a matter of taste . Dark / light / bitter / Ale / pilsner etc . What you are looking for is the most ” PREFERRED BEER ” in Peru . I have been drinking Cristal since 1986 , but being a true beer drinker , I will drink anything that you will buy me .

45 golf wedges September 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I agree that how beer tastes is completely subjective. I guess everyone’s tast buds are different, but that does not discount we should try new brews.

46 Mr. Gart van Gennip December 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Funny that of all the subjects you may want to discuss regarding life in Iquitos, BEER is the one that generates almost four dozen responses! And many of them written as if the writer is under the influence himself! Sorry folks, but as an English teacher, I had to say something. Do you people even read what you write, before posting it?!

Obviously we can argue about taste till Kingdon Come, but we will probably never agree. As far as the Europeans quarreling about the best lager in the world; it’s not from Holland, Belgium or Germany, but it is from exactly in between those three. Brand Bier, which is produced with spring water from the hills of Limburg, The Netherlands, is the absolutely perfect lager beer you could ever wish for.
So why do I say Brand is not from Holland? Because, as many Limburgois will tell you; Limburg is not part of Holland/The Netherlands. They don’t feel Dutch, they don’t act Dutch and by Jove; they don’t speak it very well either! Many would like to found an independent Limburgian state, and I agree that they should.
Limburg is located at the most southern tip of The Netherlands and is surrounded, and heavily influenced, by Germany and Belgium. Historically, it also suffered French influences, which can still be recorgnized in the local culture and cuisine. And Maastricht, its capital, has a history that dates back to the Roman Empire, 2,000 years ago.
Me, I’m Dutch, albeit not fanatically, but I am not from Limburg. I used to study there at the Hotel Business School. This was a time when I sampled many, many alcoholic beverages, not just for study purposes, but also for leisure and entertainment. So I speak with some authority when I say; Brand Bier is the best!
The choice we have in Peruvian lagers does not excite me very much, but then, being from The Netherlands, I know I am spoiled! But on a hot, muggy Iquiteño day; who cares??! Bottoms up!


47 Bill December 24, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Merry Christmas Gart, thanks for the savvy comment.

Bill Grimes

48 Ann Sundeen February 2, 2010 at 12:02 am

I am a midwestern American girl. At home I don’t like beer. But something about being in a small aluminum boat on the Napo, fishing for pirhana, prompted me to take up the Iquitena habit. Good stuff! I have been there twice now and would come back immediately if offered the chance. I also enjoyed the pisco sours!

49 Captain Bill February 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

Hi Ann, Thanks for contributing to this deep philosophical question. To make things even more complicated Cuzqueña has come out with a Wheat beer that is very delicious. I may have to change my vote to the Cuzqueña Wheat beer.


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