After a solid hour of walking up and down the streets of Copan Ruinas, Honduras we were semi-confident that we finally discovered the German craft brewery we had set out to find. Hidden amongst the colorful residences that line the hilly, cobblestone streets sits an inconspicuous house with a teeny sign displaying that, yes, this is a brewery. We cautiously entered the front door, still not quite confident we were in the correct place. Steep stairs led down, and a dog barricaded behind a gate barked to announce our arrival. We entered the tiny brew pub and were immediately greeted by two men playing chess, one a small Honduran, the other a rather large gringo. The large gringo stood up, towering over Chris (who is 6 feet tall), and extended his heavily tattooed arm for a shake and a hello in a German accent. Ah, this must be the owner of this, ahem, German Brewery. That it was. His name is Thomas, and between his full sleeve tattoos, and long grey hair, he just radiates cool.
Thomas grabbed some menus and plopped us at the table closest to the steps. There was no one else in the brewpub, though it was 3 in the afternoon on a beautiful Holiday in Copan, so I wasn’t shocked. Thomas explained that he always has two beers on tap, only German style beers, and everything is made on site. Thomas is an award winning brewer in Germany and takes serious pride in his craft. He took us back to his small workspace where he showed us all of the tools he uses to make the beer, all imported from Germany. Since water in Central America is undrinkable, he travels 30 minutes each month to purchase amazingly purified water from a guy in the mountains.
At that moment (March of 2014), Thomas had a hefeweizen and a red ale on tap, both 60 lempira ($3) a pop. Considering we had been drinking beer for 20 lempira ($1) it was significantly more expensive, but so very worth it. Both of us got the red ale, and took our first sips of craft beer in 6 weeks. We were not disappointed. In typical fashion, one beer turned into two which turned into three. I switched to the Heff, which was your classic hefeweizen; Light, crisp and super drinkable. Chris stuck with the red ale until the keg was tapped, and was replaced by a black ale.
After an hour or so went by, other people started to trickle in, and it was time for Thomas to put away his chess game. The atmosphere of the bar/restaurant is very welcoming. The long communal tables facilitate conversations with other beer drinkers, and friends were quickly made. As the bar grew more crowded, Thomas was on overload, pouring beers, chatting with people and sending food orders back to the kitchen where his adorable Honduran wife was cooking up a storm. The mix of people at the bar ranged from local Hondurans to tourists like ourselves, to expats who live in Copan.
With the smells from the kitchen wafting out into the restaurant Chris and I decided it was probably smart to eat something. The menu has a small selection of German food including sausages and schnitzel. We were advised by our new friends to get the sausage, and that we did. The sausage was phenomenal. I literally licked the grease and homemade mustard off the plate, and no it wasn’t the beer making that decision for me. The sausages are clearly homemade, they are perfectly spiced, stuffed and cooked. It is rare to find a place that does both beer and food so well, but at the Sol de Copan Brewery, they do.
Despite how busy he was, Thomas did a fantastic job keeping the atmosphere of the brewpub happy, loud and the drinks flowing. His hearty laugh filled the small room as he made time to chat with every person.
Finding this microbrewery in the middle of Central America, where craft beer has not yet exploded onto the scene, was pure luck and an amazing experience. We stayed for 5 hours, and still had trouble saying goodbye. Thomas sent us off with hugs and well wishes on the rest of our travels, and we assured him that if we were ever to return to Honduras we would absolutely be back.
If you are in Copan Ruinas, Honduras you cannot pass up the Sol de Copan Brewery. Great beer, amazingly flavorful food, and super kind people make this place a must-do.
Barrio Buena Vista Ave El Mirador
Copan, Copan, Honduras
Open: Wednesday-Sunday 2-10