The 2011 King of Brazilian Beer Competition
Long time readers of the GetFoxy blog might remember my Brazilian beer competition from 2009. Well, two years later, we’ll be sampling new and hopefully improved Brazilian micro-brewed beers! Even more exciting is the variety in this years challenge, a few wheat beers, a couple of ales and a Brazilian IPA. It’s great to see that Brazil is finally expanding their craft beer making horizons!
The cost of this 11 beer taste test challenge amounted to R$85.78 ($53 USD), ouch! Brazil is getting much more expensive than it used to be. I can’t remember what my last taste test cost, but I’d have to guess it was at least half this cost.
Let’s move on to the beers:
Eisenbahn – Dunkel – 4.8% Alcohol – This dark beer has a very light texture coupled with a smooth malty flavor. You’ll detect the aroma and slight taste of a barely noticeable roasted coffee flavor. Nothing super exciting or distinctive in this beer but it does go down quite easily. Overall 6 out of 10.
Schmitt – Ale – 4.5% Alcohol – This is one of the lightest color ale beers I have ever seen or tasted. No hop smell to speak of. It has a weak taste, slightly bitter on the tongue, with a uniquely dill pickle sort of after taste – talk about weird! It’s certainly not my new favorite beer, 3 out of 10.
Petra – Weiss Beer (German wheat beer) – 5.2% Alcohol – This beer has a light mellow yellow color and is a cloudy German style hefeweizen beer. Drinking this beer in Brazil tastes fantastic vs their standard lager beers. It’s medium bodied and the recipe seems to have a touch of orange spice in it. As the beer slightly warms while sitting in your glass, taste complexity pleasantly appears. Very similar to a refreshing glass of Blue Moon beer from America. Overall a respectable 7.5 out of 10.
Black Princess – Escuro (dark beer) – 4.8% Alcohol – First thing I noticed on the ingredients label was the addition of “corante caramelo”. I’m not sure if that’s caramel flavor or caramel coloring but either way this is not a “proper” beer. This is a prime example of your typical crappy dark Brazilian beer. This is not a mans beer. Instead this creamy, sugary sweet mix of beer and caramel is a tasty treat for a childhood girl, not a connoisseur . The only thing they got right was the name, “Black Princess”. Overall a score of 2 out of 10, i.e. not even recommended for homeless alcoholics that drink from paper bags.
Petra – Escura (dark beer) – 4.4 % Alcohol – This beer is not highly popular with the locals because it’s not sweet enough for their palate. Unlike traditional dark Brazilian beers, Petra is more of a real mans beer with no sweet syrupy taste. It’s a dark beer with a light body and a balanced ever-so-slight roasted coffee taste. It’s nothing super special, but for a Brazilian dark, it’s great. Overall 6 out of 10.
Petra – Schwarzbier (German dark lager) – 6.2% Alcohol – This beer is almost identical to their Escura line of dark beer. I’d have to do a blind taste test to tell the difference between the two. Overall 6 out of 10.
Cervejaria Colorado – Indica (India pale ale) – 7% Alcohol – I’ve got big hopes for this 600ml bottle of craft brew. Pouring a glass, the color is right, a dark red and yellow mix and as my nose gets closer, I’m presented with an aromatic hoppy smell that emanates from my glass. First sip grips my taste buds strong, this is a real IPA with a medium bodied citrus sensation that finishes with a bitter grapefruit taste. The brew gets better the more you drink but don’t let it warm up too much or the flavor loses much it’s appeal. This beer makes me smile, a solid 8 out of 10 and the #1 beer so far!
Cervejaria Colorado – Appia (German wheat beer) – 5.5% Alcohol – A strong smell of honey is the first characteristic you’ll notice with this craft beer. You’re first swig will leave you intrigued, uncertain if you really like this unconventional brew. It’s an odd sort of cross between a hefeweizen and a very light ale. A bit of bitter coupled with a flavorful honey taste and aroma. With high hopes but little delivery it won’t be our #1, but it is certainly enjoyable, nevertheless. (6.5 out of 10).
Baden Baden – Stout – 7.5% Alcohol – It’s a good stout but nothing special. Overall 5.5 of 10.
Baden Baden – Red Ale – 9.2% Alcohol – This beer packs big taste, big smell , big price and a big ass punch of high alcohol content. The color is a dark red with a bright hoppy citrus/fruit inspired craft beer smell that lofts out of the glass. Very full bodied, but sadly, has little drinkability due to the overwhelming heaviness of the beer. The flavor begins with a rich red ale taste that gently turns into a bitter aftertaste. It’s extremely good for Brazilian beer, but it’s certainly not that great worldwide. Overall, 6.5 out of 10 (on the right track but not there yet). P.s. I came up with a slogan for them, hope you enjoy it: “If you’re looking to crash your car – make it a Ba, Ba, Baden Baden’s Red!”
Brazilian beer is on its way up. They’re starting to make brews that are unique, different and actually have flavor. There are some bumps in the road, like the pickle “ale” from Schmitt that won’t make it long term, but then there are also uniquely flavorful brews like the Indica IPA from Cervejaria Colorado that will. In time, Brazil will come up with some unique brews that the rest of the world just might copy. For now, it’s heartening to see them pushing forward with real craft beer progress.
So I thought the challenge was over… But no, not yet! I went back to the super market to buy another bottle of Indica and found a lone bottle of:
I cracked open the bottle, poured a glass and gave it a nice 3/4 inch head of foam at the top. As I placed the glass to my lips I could smell a mild porter aroma emanating from my glass. I took a big sip, cutting through the head to get to the dark black brew below. As the glass left my lips, and I swallowed, I uttered out loud, “Holy S**T this is good!” but no one but me was there to hear my excitement. Demoiselle, tastes even better than a glass of Hershey’s chocolate syrup with milk! But understand, this is not a sweet beer and it does not overpower like so many coffee flavored porters do, instead, this brew seems to find just the right balance. I polished off the 600ml bottle in record time and as soon as it was done I wanted another! Ideally, this is one porter that should have a bit more carbonation added to and for sure you’ll need to chill it to a VERY low temperature before consuming. Overall, this porter is outstanding and could easily compete with those produced abroad including – your current favorite porter!
As such, Demoiselle wins the 2011 GetFoxy “King of Brazilian Beers” challenge at 9 out of 10 marks! Congratulations Cervejaria Colorado, from São Paulo, for producing the #1 and #2 best beers in Brazil!