Craft beer Bogotá: Wicca, a Witch’s Brew

By Oli Pritchard October 23, 2020

Wicca Cervecería is one of the capital’s newest breweries and they’re ready to bewitch you before Halloween with a new brew hot off their cauldron at 2600 Brauhaus tomorrow.

Wicca Cervecería.
Wicca Cervecería.

Double double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake. At Wicca Cervecería, you’re unlikely to find snakes, fenny or otherwise, as they launch a collaboration beer – Tábata – this Saturday at 2600 Brauhaus. 

The Bogotá beer scene has a good habit of encouraging co-working and Tábata is the result of Wicca teaming up with Brauhaus and Chelarte. You’ll need to reserve a table (COVID) and you can do that with Wicca, or either of the other two breweries. It’s $60,000 a person which includes dinner, a glass of Tábata and a cocktail.

Double toil and trouble, though, is a pretty apt description of their founding. The brewery sprang up in quarantine, as Leiddy Rincón, Geraldine Reina and Jennifer Ramírez all found themselves adrift. Previously, Leiddy had worked for Season Beer, Jennifer at Baloo and Geraldine for Gigante. As the pandemic took its toll, they all ended up with lots of spare time. Leiddy and Jennifer are founder members of the Comunidad de Mujeres Cerveceras, and got to talking about the idea of clubbing together to make some beers.

They needed a name, though, and had always been fond of calling the Comunidad de Mujeres Cerveceras ‘brujas’, or witches. That name wasn’t well-received with other members of the collective, but between the three of them, there wasn’t a problem. In the end, though, Wicca seemed like a more elegant compromise and thus the brewery was born.

Jennifer says she remembers thinking, “If we don’t do it now, we won’t do it.” Leiddy chimes in to point out, “We had an advantage, that we had experience and we knew a lot,” before Geraldine finishes “…And people knew us, they knew that they could trust us.” It’s fascinating to listen to the coven together, as the conversation flashes from one to the other in quick succession. 

Geraldine was right to say that people trusted them – because their first batch of beers was a runaway success. They’d budgeted to sell around 35 beers on the first weekend, hoping to sell the others later. Orders soon poured in as the word spread, and they sold 91 packs (364 beers) in the end. That’s a whole order of magnitude more. It looks like the runes auger well for these witchy women!

The beers

Wicca have kicked things off with four regular beers, as well as the special Tábata. Tábata is highly unusual, as it doesn’t have hops. Instead, flavour comes from a blend of camomile, juniper, rosemary, marjoram, lemongrass and bayleaf. It’s a tradition going back to medieval European beers that predate hop cultivation and also can be sourced locally here in Colombia, making it more eco-friendly.

Read our guide to craft beer in Bogotá as we keep adding to it

Remarkably, the regular beers all clock in at 5%, making them considerably more session-able than many Bogotá offerings. They have a standard IPA (Ancas de Rana) as well as a Cream Ale (Agua Lunar) and an American Amber Ale (Sangre de mis Enemigos). The one we want to talk about though, is the fruity Catherina Sour (Locura Colectiva).

Locura Colectiva is about as close to a ‘gateway sour’ as it gets, in terms of drinkability and tartness. The beer is loaded with hibiscus after fermentation, which apart from giving it its delicate flavour, also means it comes out of Wicca’s psychedelic medicine bottles a lovely grapefruit pink colour. “We wanted this colour for our flagship beer, exalting the colour everyone associates with women,” says Geraldine. 

Our other beer writer, Tristan Quigley, pronounced it an excellent specimen of its genre in Colombia. He is a big sour fan and tasted it in the heat of the Llanos, where admittedly any lighter sour beer worth drinking should perform well. 

Locura is tart enough to quench the thirst and keep it interesting, yet pleasantly sweet at the same time. “I can see this beer converting a lot of open-minded beer drinkers who may have originally bristled at the very idea of a sour beer,” he said. 

How to get them

Wicca sell via social media, so there’s Instagram, facebook or simply WhatsApp (302 3181010). Beers come in 4-packs at $45,000 incl delivery in Bogotá or Cali. They send orders out on Wednesdays and Fridays, so time your requests well. 

Tábata is a 750ml bottle and can be ordered in a fancy presentation box for $80,000 or on its own for $49,000. The presentation box features a set of three potions and a souvenir glass in which to mix them, as well as a booklet on potion-making and the beer itself.