OK, I´m a beer connosuer, I have to check out the local brews wherever I go. Panamainian beers were unknown to me before I moved here. I have found them to be a pleasant surprise.
They have an award winning beer now, Cerveza Panama was given a gold medal at the International Brewers Contest in 2008. It is my prefered local beer, but the others are also very drinkable and perfect for the climate, a real treat on a hot day! I love to sit on my patio nearly every evening, and listen to the forest and look at the stars with a local beer.
The locals generally get one of the five local beers; Atlas, Balboa, Cristal, Panama, or Soberana.
The first two are from Cervezaria National and Atlas is the most popular, sort of the Budweiser of Panama, but not really the best tasting, in my humble opinion. Balboa is better tasting, but not as good as the latter two. Panama is made by Cervezaria de Panama in Chiriqui. My wife tells me the brewmaster is German, and this beer is definetely a German-style Lager. It is the best tasting to me, and the one I prefer to drink. I didn´t try it at first because I read that it wasn´t that good, but now that I tried it, I think the person who judged this beer as substandard was all wet! Soberana, is also good, it is my second favorite of the locals. It is a nice, light beer and is great for a hot day! Cristal is a pilsner that is also made by Cervezaria de Panama, that is a decent pilsner, but not as good as Cerveza Panama.
I hope if you like beer and visit Panama, that you will try the local beers. For one thing, they are cheap. A returnable bottle is 35-40 cents, plus ten cent deposit. But they are only 9.5 ounces. They sell 12 ounce cans for about 55 cents, each, usually they are a little cheaper in the larger super markets than the local "Supermercados", which are convenience stores. Except in Panama City, the beers are sold loose on the shelf in bottles or just in returnable plastic cases, or loose or only in six-packs in cans; but now you can get blister-wrapped 12-packs of Atlas and Balboa. They only tend to come in the 9.5 oz bottles or 12 oz. cans. I have gotten 12 oz bottles of Soberana and Balboa in restaurants, however, I have not seen that size in the stores except for one liquor store in Panama City. That may be a limited thing.
Well, not all Panamanians are as depicted in the attached photo, but Panama is third in per capita beer consumption in Latin America, behind Mexico and Venezuela. They are also in the top ten in the world. Panamanians do love their Atlas beer! Also brewed here by license or because the brewery is owned by the parent company; Budweiser, and Guiness Stout.