Most people in Brazil drink the standard Adjunct Light Lager much like most Americans drink (Bud Light, Miller Lite, etc). You see Ambev beers like Antarctica, Brahma, Bohemia, Skol, and Stella Artois almost everywhere. Ambev itself is owned by InBev, the giant that owns Budweiser. This is the status quo of beers, any beer that doesn't fit this mold gets a questioning look from many people.
Being that I love beer like I love food, it means that I like different types. When I bring up things like stouts, barleywines, and rye ales, I get some weird looks.
Craft Beer is Growing Here
The craft beer scene here is around where the US was probably a decade or two ago. Selection is limited, brewers create their own Pilsner to help drinkers transition, and they are clawing to grow market share. It hasn't boomed yet. With that said, we did find a decent selection of Brazilian craft beers at a place in Ribeirão Preto. The top two rows are all Brazilian:
Home brewing is starting to become a thing here. Wages for Brazilians have continued to slowly climb, which means people have a little more disposable income. But look, we're not dealing with the US here. The big beer stronghold here is incredible. I don't know how long it will be for this scene to take off here, but I wish them all the luck in the world.
I will say this, some of the brewers up here are taking some big chances. I stumbled across this beer that is rated at 1,000 IBU (International Bittering Units)
I didn't buy it. I've made a beer that was 250+, and that was rough. 1,000 is just nuts. It's fitting that it's a fist punching the drinker in the face.
Before Jenifer's appointment in Ribeirão Preto, we went by the Lund brewery:
They weren't open to the public, but since they had a door opened, and we walked in, one of the proprietors began chatting with us. Right now they are making four production beers, and they will be moving soon to a larger building to increase production. Their current facility only has four refrigerated fermentation tanks, which explains why they only have four beers:
I bought their Dunkel earlier in the day, and plan on sampling it soon.
Lund has tastings every Saturday, but we probably won't make it back to partake. The proprietor's interest in us increased as we talked about the breweries around us, what they are doing, and some of the things we do back in the states. Events that we consider pretty standard, like parties with food trucks were completely new ideas to her. Some of the things I've done like barrel aging beers were very impressive to them.
During all the talking, Zoey decided to give herself a brewery tour while everyone else was talking:
What's in the fridge?
Here's a snapshot of what we have in the fridge right now to sample:
I have a week to knock these out. The cans are 1L, and I plan on sharing these with Jenifer's brother.
If you are interested on my thoughts and ratings of individual beers, friend me on Untappd, my username is 'brint'. Most of my Brazilian check-ins have been of the pilsner variety, but expect a lot more variety in the very near future.
Current Rule #1, 2, and 3, it MUST be cold
Like with food, temperature makes a huge difference when it comes to flavor. When you go to restaurants, food is cooked to and served at different temperatures. We know this so well, that we do it automatically without thinking about it. We know when our beef is done, we know when pork is done, and we know when chicken is done. Not only do we know when they are done, we all know they are done at different temperatures, and going over that will cause undesired effects such as charring or drying out. Beer is the same, Guinness even publishes their recommended serving temperature.
Here the rule is to serve the beer as cold as possible, without freezing it. Here's a bar we were at yesterday that serves beer below 0 degrees C:
The left tap is Guinness. It is served below the freezing point. That's a big no-no.
If you make a stout or just about any dark beer too cold, it makes a huge negative impact on the flavor. The cold dulls your taste buds, and to me, you end up with a little bit of a bitter after taste. If you're going to drink good beer, you need to treat your beer like your wine, and store it at the proper temperatures.
How to drink a beer at home in Brazil
Here are the steps, in order:
1. Putting the beer, and the glass you are going to drink it out of, into the freezer.
2. Wait for everything to get near freezing.
3. Pop the top, pour the beer, and enjoy.
These are the same steps you may take with a Bud Light in the states. Great for the super light beers, bad for everything else.
Beer is shared in Brazil
The glasses that people drink from are about 8 ounces. The beers are about 12 ounces or larger. If you have more beer than you can fit in your glass, then it must be shared, right?
Most bars serve bombers, so you'll see a couple guys around a table on the street sharing the bottle. If it's a big group, you'll see two bombers.
I think this is cool. It makes an already social substance, more social.