We all have ideas; we all strive to make those ideas happen. They can come from a night of heavy drinking or a thought in the middle of the night. We kick and scream, there’s sweat and tears, though, for most of us those ideas simply stay in our dreams or barely at our fingertips.
This is not what happened to Ignacio Schwalb, Diego Rodriguez, and Juan Diego Vasquez, three schoolmates who took their idea 6 years ago and made it into reality right from their backyard. You may recognize them for their strive to start the Beer Revolution in Peru and their savory brews. They are Barbarian.
Last week I took a tour of the brewery with Ignacio and Diego and heard the story from beginning to end of how it all started. It began as a hobby, a mere intent of home brewing and inviting friends and family to try out their artisanal creations. After a few years of finding the perfect brew, finding the hops, googling recipes, attempting to get that, that’s fucking good taste, and having endless opportunities of taking their brews to all the reunions, gatherings and the drunken nights they had, they knew home brewing was an idea they were relentless on unravelling. They got their gear and moved into a garage to start making, experimenting, and selling beer.
They built their tiny brewing home from the ground up. They put up the walls, ceilings, lighting and tables. They drew up their brewing equipment and had them made and in late 2011 they were selling their Red Ale to their one and only client, Cañas y Tapas. They introduced their Chaski Porter and their 174 IPA and quickly had 3 more clients and were at their maximum production of 200 liters a month that just didn’t make ends meet. They packed up their Fisher-Price of a brewing kit, headed to a location in La Molina and invested in a few bigger and better big boy toys.
By the end of the year, their 3 buyers quickly escalated to 8 and once they were all settled in, they were producing a maximum of 800 liters a month. They were in the same situation they were before and the supply simply did not meet the demand. It was all or nothing and without any hesitation they invested it all in their new and permanent brewery in Huachipa, about 30 or 40 minutes from Lima. A year passed by and they expanded heavily once more with a vast set of brewing gear to meet the demands of the 350+ clients they now have and are producing around 10,000 liters barbaric deliciousness.
Unless you’re anywhere but Peru, sadly, finding the innumerable and incomparable amount of beers other countries have to taste is almost impossible let alone finding books or research on the topic. It is an exhausting job but at the same time exhilarating. They embark on a trip without a map and no directions as they pursue their experimentations, transformations, and explorations. They teamed up with Papachos to bring us their menta, sauco, muña, they’ve experimented with cacao, and have introduced us to their Mayta Tres Demonios Spiced Ale. They also took along a few beer junkies to strenuously and ardently bless us (seasonally) with their De Peso Pumpkin Ale. Although I have to admit their latest addition, La Nena Hoppy Wheat, has become an addiction that I am not willing to overcome because it’s that fucking good.
Stepping into Barbarian is like finally coming home after a shitty day at work. Except your home is a Man Cave filled with great beer, pizza, a flat screen, and your back porch is a brewery. It has been vandalized with only the greatest artists and the bar is a cozy as a lazy Sunday afternoon. It is a place for beer talk, for beer lovers and fanatics, and a place to simply indulge a few pints passionately and serenely. It is the bar your house has always dreamt of.
Stone, Brewdog, Dog Fish Head, Antares, Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas are but a few of the inspiring legends that have influenced their revolutionizing marketing, their Red Ale, Porter, IPA, Pale Ale & their Hoppy Wheat. As I recall, their “epiphany beer” was Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. They look up to and are influenced by regional breweries in Chile, Argentina, and Columbia. They have travelled and tried endless possibilities of beer and have a story to tell for most. They dream big and aim high. These men have a top of mind attitude and a love, passion, and sophistication for their beer, their creations, and their culture.
The artisanal beer industry in Lima has been set in motion. The game has changed and only keeps growing. Although it is only the beginning, Barbarian has made a name for itself and will forever be a part of Peru as the beginning of the Beer Revolution.
If you live in Lima, you’re visiting Lima or are planning to make your next trip down to Peru, visiting the Barbarian brewery is a must. They have tours every weekend and the occasional beer pong match. Visit their Facebook page or contact them to set up a tour of the place and drink up.