By Tommy Pittenger
For the Oregon Beer Growler
It’s rare that I find a city that has the same level of passion about craft beer that I’m used to in the Pacific Northwest. Some call us snobs (and we probably are), but access to a stunning variety of consistent, delicious craft beer in a friendly pub atmosphere has become my way of life and an expectation. So while traveling through Peru, it came as quite a shock to find a pub strewn with Northwest regalia like ‘Keep Portland Weird’ – or the more appropriate ‘Keep Portland Beer’d’ – stickers and Portland Timbers Scarves. While I was inherently drawn to the Northwest decor, it was this unique craft beer culture juxtaposed with the colonial-era city center of Arequipa, Peru that fascinated me.
Chelawasi Public House is Arequipa’s first craft beer bar and remains a destination for the traveling beer aficionado passing through Peru. Named Chelawasi (“chela” meaning beer and “wasi” meaning house in Quechua, the local language), the pub currently rotates 40 beers alongside a menu of favorite local recipes, including one of my favorites — the mango chicken wings. Owner Casey Workman is a Portland native who says that while there is a very vibrant Peruvian brewing scene, there were no craft beer pubs that truly matched his hometown’s brewpub culture.
Before moving to Peru, Workman offered his skills as an electrician to various Portland breweries to further immerse himself in the brewing scene. “I was just trying to get exposure however I could,” Workman says. “I was trying to practice ‘Give good and get good.’” After a season of brewing guidance and collaborations in Portland, Workman and his wife Katterin decided to relocate to Arequipa in late 2014 and open their own brewpub. They brought down fellow Oregon brewer Warren Holmes as their first brewer and even created a collaboration beer with Charlie Papazian while he was in Peru.
Two years later, Chelawasi continues to gain steam in the local scene with no plans of stopping. “Chelawasi is an opportunity to serve delicious beer and food to an incredible parade of humans from all over the world,” Workman says. “A parade of free-thinking travelers looking for solutions.”
If you find yourself thirsty in Arequipa, make sure to stop by Chelawasi.
Chelawasi Public House
[a] Campo Redondo 104, Arequipa, Peru
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.