When we went to Tamarindo for groceries, we stopped to eat lunch at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. There on the table was an advertisement for their sister property, the Volcano Brewing Company Microbrewery and Hotel. It immediately caught Lee’s attention.
The craft beer scene is still in its infancy here, with most of the beer in the country being produced by one large brewery. Some research, including a long chat with Joe of the Black Sheep Pub, revealed that Volcano Brewing Company was one of only two craft breweries in the whole country. The brewery is located in the mountains around Lake Arenal, an area we’d already planned to visit one night.
Lee got in touch with the brewery, and yes the owner was there, and yes he’d be happy to give Lee an interview and a tour for Lee’s Brew Drink Run website. So we booked a room and added another night in Arenal to our itinerary.
After 11 days of being at the beach house, I was excited to load up the car and venture out to see some different parts of the country. The drive to the mountains took about three and a half hours – it’s hard to know how long it’ll take you to get anywhere, because it all depends on how many slow trucks and cars you get behind on the two-lane highways. And whether or not you’re gutsy enough to pass them.
As we neared the lake we noticed all the palm tree fronds were bent in one direction by the constant wind. Before the hotel was a microbrewery, it was a wind surfing resort, and it was easy to see why that sport would be popular here. The mountains were green, green, green and lush, with the lake filling in the valley – simply beautiful.
The microbrewery hotel also has a restaurant and therefore is an all-inclusive, offering unlimited food and beverage to overnight guests. We’d been eating small, simple meals at the beach house, and being so far from the grocery store we’d run out of some staples. I was really looking forward to the all-you-can-eat scenario, and having someone else worry about food supply.
The hotel is on the top of a mountain, and the restaurant has ample windows to take full advantage of the vista to the lake below. We ordered lots of food, beer for us, and a smoothie for Camille. And we ate and ate and ate.
We were lucky enough to be there on a brew day, so Lee got to talk with the owner and the head brewer. He was in his element.
Meanwhile, Camille tried out the hotel pool and learned to play foosball, darts and billiards (her version is more like putt-putt, where you just try to whack the balls directly into the pockets – forget using the cue ball).
After the heat of the beach, the cool breezes were a nice change. I slept well despite the wind whipping ferociously outside our room all night, and we woke to the sound of some very close howler monkeys. It sounded like they were hanging out on our front porch, but by the time we opened the door they were gone. Who needs an alarm clock around here when there are howler monkeys? We stuffed ourselves at breakfast, and then prepared to hit the road again.
A volcano was waiting for us.