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Carrot Cake Ale and Buffalo Wings: The Andean Brew Pub, Cuenca Ecuador

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Food, Ecuador Travel

Last week we were invited by David Verdugo to visit his restaurant / brew pub here in Cuenca. While we are grateful for the fine meal we were served, the review remains independent and completely our own words and views.

Last week, we had buffalo wings for the first time since moving to Ecuador. Deep fried, spiced just right and served with home fries and a mug of carrot cake ale.

Update: It appears that the Andean Brew Pub closed in August 2015.

Carrot Cake Ale? 

What looked like a fairly typical pale ale, the aptly named carrot cake ale delivered a unique flavor. A touch of carrot and spices makes it the most unique beer that I’ve ever tasted. They brew two types of beer: carrot cake and brown ale. The carrot cake ale was smooth with a slightly sweet and fruity taste. The brown ale was similar to the Ecuadorian Pilsener brand but without the aftertaste.

Currently, they have both types of beer on tap and have plans to begin bottling but are still working out some details. Watch for that in coming months.

The Andean Brewing Company produces 4 different drinks. The alcohol content is noted.

  • Brown Ale (5%): $1.50
  • Carrot Cake Ale (5%): $1.50
  • Naranjilla Cider (8%): $1.50
  • Lemon Cider (5%): $1.50
andean-brewing-company-cuenca-ecuador andean-brewing-company-beer-buffalo-wings-fries-cuenca

The Andean Brew Pub is located in the Zona Rosa sector here in Cuenca, Ecuador and is an extension of the Andean Brewing Company – a micro brewing operation also based  here.  David Verdugo, the owner, is a Cuencano living in Florida, USA. Both the brewery and recipes were developed by David.

The Andean Brew Pub Menu

  • Chicken wings (10) with beer: $7.00
  • Chicken wings (20) with beer: $12.00
  • Tex Mex rolls, a beer: $5.00
  • Bruschetta, a beer: $7.00
The Brew Pub is partnered with Cappuccino Cafe. The cafe serves breakfasts ($3-4), sandwiches and hamburgers. Breakfast is served all day! While this is common in some places back home, this isn’t very common here – I don’t know that we’ve ever seen it. Dena is in heaven…

Is This Just For Expats?

I know that anything over the $2.25/meal will offend certain expats. There is an idea (by expats) that if expats spend more than a couple of dollars on a meal they are contributing to increasing  prices. The concern over increasing prices is valid but is better applied to rentals than to meals.

This restaurant, for example, was full when we were there. But it was full of young Cuencanos having their lunch, not expats or tourists. While there is a clear North American influence (the owner has lived there for many years) it is a local Cuencano business that caters primarily to Cuencanos.

Is it a party place? I don’t think so, and certainly not during the day. It is a cozy location with upscale fixtures. They are open from 9am to 10pm. Like many pubs across Canada (and I assume in the States as well) the Andean Brew Pub offers quality food and beer at a reasonable price.

Do They Speak English There?

Yes. The manager of the locale, Dora Maldonado (David’s grandmother) lived in the States for many years so she speak good English. The staff speaks enough English to easily take your order. Don’t forget to use your Spanish – learning Spanish is a critical step to integrating in your new city.

Where is the Andean BrewPub Located?

The Andean Brew Pub is located at Miguel Morocho y Gran Colombia, Edificio Dali, Local 1. The sector is known as Zona Rosa and the primary intersection is Gran Colombia and Unidad Nacional.


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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

28 comments… add one
  • Dennis Anthony Oct 8, 2013, 8:49 pm

    Great article. I’m living right behind the Company, but I didn’t see any twenty wings for 10-12 dollars. The night I was there it was ten wings, ten dollars. In NYC, 20 wings for about $8.75.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 10, 2013, 7:38 pm

      Sounds like the prices have increased. How were they?

      • Dennis Anthony Oct 10, 2013, 8:03 pm

        Opted for the burger! No can do one-doller per, but everything there has been good so far!

      • Dennis A Mar 5, 2014, 12:46 pm

        The “menu” itself is fine, but the quality is just not there and is why they’re empty every night. I would be there every night of the week at 9.30 eating a “good” burger (hard to mess that up) or an onion ring platter for something south of the $4.95 number they have. There are a pretty good handful of ExPats (Americans) in my immediate vicinity but they just won’t go for food that doesn’t have the pop and sizzle. But the $10.00 for 10 chicken wings, well, a NYC bartender would be taken out and lynched for those kinds of prices. And don’t they make chickens here? Should be an abundance. I will be speaking with the owner(s) soon and convey these things. Keep the menu, get a new chef or new supplier. A burger isn’t that difficult.

  • Jeff Robinett May 17, 2013, 9:20 pm

    I have enjoyed your blog. Can you rent cars Cuenca? Can you bicycle safely?


    • Bryan Haines May 18, 2013, 7:42 am

      Yes, there are rental agencies out by the airport. There are lots of places to bike – If you stay off the road, you’ll be safe. The city recognizes how dangerous the roads are for cyclists. There was an article in the paper a few months ago, that was titled “Cyclists Take Their Lives In Their Own Hands” (or something similar). I won’t ride on any of the main roads, but secondary roads should be fine.

  • Stewart Jan 27, 2013, 4:08 am

    I would love to try the different brews! Someday. My plans to visit Cuenca in February have changed. Hopefully this summer yes! And to visit my Gringo friends too.

    Best to all,

    • Dennis Dec 12, 2013, 4:51 pm

      I found one of the ciders very close to Woodpecker, but the other two: Robitussin!

  • Aric Brown Jan 24, 2013, 11:53 pm


    I wanted everyone to know that I have been working with David to improve the beer at ABC. First of all, the CO2 issue is completely resolved. After we got the beers properly carbonated, I was able to resample the Carrot Cake Ale. For those of you interested in beer styles, I would say that the Carrot Cake fits in the “Winter Ale” category (BCJP – 21B. Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer). The first thing to note with this beer, is that it is not your typical brew, its spicy! The category allows for a wide range of aromas and flavors, but what I noticed the most is the cinnamon. Which paired with an extra dose of alcohol makes for an especially pleasing beer on a cold winter night. Yeah I know we dont have cold winter nights in Cuenca, but properly carbonated and chilled, this is a really good beer. I hope there is plenty for you to try the next time you visit ABC!


    • Bill Jan 25, 2013, 7:56 am

      Excellent, back down in June and will try again. Aric, I am glad you helped David. I hope he creates a bar/pub atmosphere, it would be so nice. When down I play tennis at the Colesio, it would be so easy to go over and have a couple beers post game, plus, I live so close. Good luck Gents

  • Carlos Jan 5, 2013, 9:32 pm

    I want to visit and taste their beer… I miss belgian beers!

  • Aric Brown Jan 1, 2013, 4:42 pm

    Greetings, fellow Cuencanos!

    We finally got a chance to sample the food at ABC yesterday. We arrived around 1 PM and where the only customers. We ordered breakfast and it was excellent. We were so happy with the service, food and atmosphere we decided to head back later that evening to sample the beer and cider.

    We returned around 5PM and there was one other family enjoying a meal. We immediately ordered samples of each beer and cider on the menu. Boy are we glad we requested samples, because they were all terrible! Now before I say any anymore I want to clarify that I am from the Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon so I have tasted a fair share of micro brews in my lifetime. In addition I have been an avid home brewer for more than 10 years, and trained as a BJCP judge. If you don’t understand the significance of the last three statements then stop reading now.

    If however you are really searching for quality craft brewed beer in Cuenca then the rest of this post may interest you. Why was the beer terrible? Well lets start first with the obvious. After we ordered I peeked over to where the beer was being poured, I was aghast to see a table of plastic bottles each with a label of the type of beer and cider. Could these be our beers being poured from plastic? Oh no please don’t tell me they spent all the time, money and effort to make craft beer and then poured it into plastic bottles, dont they know what Oxidation is! Certainly, there must have been some other explanation so I said nothing and waited for our beer samples to arrive.

    Well one look at the samples and the initial problem was obvious, zero carbonation.

    Well flat beer is a problem, but certainly one that can be solved. I got up from the table to walk over to the beer pouring area and asked the guy serving to show me the setup. Standard 3 tap setup with corny kegs for beer storage all in a cooler. So far so good, but whats this, plastic bottles of the same beer in the cooler? What are these for I asked? My best translation of the answer is that they system over carbonates the beer while serving from the taps, so they have made it a habit of pouring the beer into the plastic bottles, and serving from those. Ugh.

    Well I asked if we could have our next samples from the taps, but the answer was no! No, why not? We are out of gas he says. I inspected the CO2 regulator and sure enough the bottle was empty. So we struck out completely on solving problem number one.

    Well on to the taste test. Like I said, flat, stale and just awful. Clearly oxidized during the transfer. I could see that there is potential for this beer once its properly carbonated and dispensed, but not today. Which brings me to the next problem, temperature. The beer in the glass was nearly room temperature. When I inspected the cooler earlier it did not feel very cold inside but I was so stunned by the CO2 problem that I really didn’t register it. But now with warm oxidized beer on my palate my dreams of enjoying craft beer in Cuenca today was shattered.

    With no real hope of any difference we moved on to the ciders. Now since ciders are not beer, the previous two problems of carbonation and temperature made less of an impact in my opinion. The Naranjilla with a bit more CO2 and a bit colder could be a great beverage. The Limon however was off. Estery, medicinal, and sour. Clear signs of infection, excessive fermentation temperatures, or oxidation, or all three.

    In short my experience at ABC was almost identical to my first experience at La Compania, completely disappointing. It’s nights like these that I wish I had brought my home brew equipment.

    If anyone reading this is offended because they have tasted this beer and enjoyed it, I am sorry. Maybe the CO2 bottle was full that night, maybe they had just poured it from the tap, or maybe you enjoy Budweiser. =)

    If you work for ABC and want some help with your setup, send me a note. I really do want to be able to enjoy craft brewed beer here in Cuenca.



    • David Verdugo Jan 2, 2013, 1:37 pm

      Dear Aric:

      Thank you for your business and for your great feedback. My name is David and I am the owner of ABC, I really appreciate all your comments about the food and especially about the beers and ciders. It is my dream to create recipes for beers and ciders in hope to get the Cuenca community to enjoy good brews. Like you, I love making beer and the entire process…the only problem is that I do not currently live in Cuenca- I am getting my doctorate at the University of Florida right now– there so it is hard for me to monitor how everything is being handled on a day-to-day basis. So this feedback helps me guide the staff and hopefully educate them on how our beer and service must be handled.

      I really appreciate all the comments and I would love to talk to you in more detail about everything. I think the option of having your help would be very valuable to our company so that we can better control the quality and taste of beer; especially when a lot of the Cuencanos are used to only drinking Pilsener and do not know how to differentiate in taste.

      I am very interested in talking to you and maybe setting something up, please send me an email so that we can speak personally.

      I look forward to hearing back from you,

      David Verdugo

      • Bill Jan 3, 2013, 7:41 am


        I also stopped by twice in the past couple weeks. I only tried the Brown Ale and it was fine for me, but, I completely understand where Aric is coming from, I am from Vermont and we have our share of good craft beers as Aric probably knows, notably Harpoon, Long Trail, Otter Creek, and others. So I guess our perspective and experience sets the bar (no pun intended) a bit higher. Speaking of a bar, you need one, this to me stands out as a big minus for a brew pub. The server sits or stands behind his desk, on his PC, and not engaging customers, not a good thing. Frankly, I go to a pub for the beer, but also the social aspect, I too was the only one there went I went both times. For me, our house is so close near the Colesio (although we visit twice a year) and it would be so convenient to stop in for a brew. I imagine it is difficult being an absentee owner and wow I would suggest taking Aric up on his offer, I have been in a few pubs in my life (to say the least) and I too would be happy to help to the extent that I can, like Aric, it would be great to have a quality brew pub in Cuenca.

    • Dennis A Mar 5, 2014, 12:49 pm

      “Two” of the ciders are worse than chilled Robitussin! Or help with the food. Menu great, quality…not-so. You know your stuff, Aric.

  • David Verdugo Dec 10, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Fellow Expats:

    My name is David Verdugo and I am the owner of ABC. I would like to formally thank you for your interest and for your support. It has been a rocky start, but we are working every single day to bring you the best food and brews we can. As Frank, a valued customer, mentioned earlier; we have been trying to slowly bring the Cuencano community to try new beers. We are doing everything we can to make your experience the best possible. I invite you to try our ciders and beers starting this week, as they have been re-formulated and improved.

    Our commitment is to bring you a place where you can relax and enjoy life. Your comments are extremely valuable to us and for our growth. Please keep them coming. The more we hear from you, the better able we are to serve you.

    Happy holidays!

    • Bill Dec 11, 2012, 7:43 am

      do you have a website and/or a map, directions ??

      • Bryan Haines Dec 12, 2012, 9:51 am

        Hi Bill, check the end of the post for directions.


        • Bill Dec 13, 2012, 2:35 am

          its like a 5 minute walk from our house I can now see, which is near the Coliseo, my wife will love this, not, will stop in this Sunday, we arrive Saturday from JFK for a couple weeks, cannot wait to get back to Cuenca (visit our daughter Kelly).

  • Frank Dec 3, 2012, 9:39 pm

    I just heard from the owner of the Andean Brewery and he said that the idea of locally brewed beer is new in Cuenca and that the initial offering was meant to appeal to local Cuencan’s taste in beer and that he is planning to gradually introduce more complex formulas beginning very soon during December. I wish him great success with the new formulas. I encourage others to be patient and to also keep track of the progress by sampling the new beers he is introducing. A local brew pub in Cuenca with quality beer would be a welcome gathering place for tourists, ex-pats, and hopefully, eventually, as beer tastes change, local Cuencans! Keep it up. I’m with you David!!

  • Frank Nov 30, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Just went there tonight, around 6:30 p.m. The place was empty except for my wife and myself. The building and the bar itself is nicely appointed. The first thing we noticed was the music which was the radio tuned to a local station playing Christmas music which irritatingly got intermittently loud then soft again. But I didn’t really care, I was mostly interested in tasting some locally crafted beer. I ordered the Brown and my wife ordered the Carrot Cake. I was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t even finish a mug of the swill. The brown was like flavored water. Very thin, very bitter, metallic tasting. Comparing it to the gassy Ecuadorian Pilsner is an insult. Save your money and head over to the Inca Lounge and order the Belgian they have on tap they serve in the humongous glasses. The 2.30 cheeseburger I ordered was decent and adding cucumber was an interesting twist. But a brewing company is about the beer. By the way, the manager on duty, who was more interested in checking his Facebook messages than in us, said he spoke “no Ingles”. I don’t see how this business will stay open unless the quality of beer improves.

    • Bill Dec 1, 2012, 10:03 am

      that is not good, no wonder no one was in there. I guess I try the Inca Lounge when we are down in a few weeks, at least they have draft, but I will give this place one chance, anything else worth checking out ??

      • Frank Dec 1, 2012, 11:53 pm

        Yes, definitely check out the Ecuadorean Jazz Society. It is the Cafe Nectar during the day, but at night it transforms itself into a jazz club and there is always something different and interesting going on there. The food is great, the service is excellent and the atmosphere is relaxing with an eclectic feel. Tonight, aside from a great jazz trio there was a choir from the local university and some local Ecuadorians who played gypsy and dixieland jazz featuring drums, clarinet, bass clarinet and banjo. Totally surprising to find the level of competence and talent in this small restaurant turned jazz club. I highly recommend a visit on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. I’m just here on vacation but I truly hope this endeavor (the Ecuadorian Jazz Society – only in Cuenca) succeeds and is going great guns when I return!!

  • Tes Oct 24, 2012, 12:52 pm

    As a life-long dieter, I can’t help noticing that most Cuencans (is that right??) are relaively slim and appear to be in good health. Yet much of the wonderful food and drink would normally be off my own pathetic low-cal, low-carb diet. (Chicken wings — yum, but currently a no-no!!). Are those of you slimmies just doing more exercise like walking? It’d be great to know hubby and I can come there and eat all the food offerings without blowing up like balloons!

    • Bryan Haines Oct 24, 2012, 1:47 pm

      Hi Tes, I’ve heard from many expats that they lost significant weight after moving to Cuenca. Cuenca is a city to be walked – and as many expats don’t have a car they walk a lot more than they did back home. This is true of us. But watch out for all of the bakeries – it isn’t hard to put on weight either.

  • Bill Oct 12, 2012, 6:59 am

    Where have you been hiding ?? Three trips so far to Cuenca, looking for real beer and now its here, or maybe it was here for a while and I just never could find it. I am down in December and will be in for sure

  • Stewart Oct 5, 2012, 11:12 pm

    Makes me want to order Carrot Cake Ale, and your report brings back memories of my past times in Southern California. There I frequented several micro breweries. My favorite ale was a Honey Blond Ale. And chicken wings, I haven´t had those for over a year (partly due to a fear of fried foods here).

    When we visit Cuenca we will definitely try Andean Brewing Company!

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