Brazil is one of the heaviest consumers of beer in the world. However, you’ll find that the majority of the population exclusively consumes a macro brew here called Skol. It is a very refreshing pilsner, but if you are like me and enjoy tasting microbrews and stronger beers, you may find yourself yearning for some variety as your trip goes on. There are two other common ones, Brahma and Antarctica, but both are also very similar light pilners. So I’ve decided to make a list of beers for visitors to seek out while on an extended stay in this beautiful country. Many Southern parts of the country were settled by Germans, so there are actually a lot of EXCELLENT beers to try; many hiding deep in the Bebidas sections of the menus at the bares and restaurantes. Here are just a few.
DEVASSA – A former microbrew that is on its way up. These guys make another pilsner, but they also make a red ale and a “tropical dark”. They are Loura (blonde girl), Ruiva (red-headed girl), and Negra (black girl) respectively. I’ve tried the pilsner and it is much smoother than the macros here. I’ve heard the other two are also good.
ANTARCTICA ORIGINAL – This is a slightly more expensive version of one of the macros. It uses the original recipe from way back in the day. At any rate it’s a very smooth and drinkable beer, albeit yet another pilsner.
CHOPP - Most bars offer various macro brands, but usually BRAHMA, as CHOPP (pronounced “shoppe”). Many believe that this simply means it is on tap as opposed to being bottled or canned, but it actually means it is the unpasturized version. The lack of pasteurization and the method of bringing it to the tap through ice cold copper pipes (often inside a large block of ice) makes it an incredibly tasty and refreshing way to have beer in Brazil, and is unique to this country. You can often find escura (dark lager) served as chopp too, but be warned that it is usually very sweet for the gringo pallate. If this is the case you can try chopp carioca (person from Rio), which is the pilsner with the head of the dark, or paulista (person from Sao Paulo), which is the other way around. Don’t get rid of the head in any case, as it tastes good and acts as a natural insulator to keep the beer cold. Believe me you want your beer to be cold.
BADEN BADEN – This microbrew does some very tasty varieties of beer. Plenty to choose from, but on the pricey side and rather rare.
BOHEMIA WEISS – A hefeweisen style beer that can be found at many bars. Very good.
BOHEMIA CONFRARIA – A monk beer that comes in an opaque bottle. Very yummy. Basically a side project of the head brewer at the macro brewery Bohemia. My personal favorite beer here so far. It is more expensive than other beers at a bar, but at 10 Reais for a 600ml bottle (a forty) it is still a great value for gringo money, and it is the closest you’ll get to Chimay here.
XINGU – This is one of the best-rated beers in Brazil on Ratebeer.com, and for good reason. It is a dark beer that is very refreshing. However, it is mainly exported and is easier to find in San Francisco than it is where I was staying in Recife.
CERVEJA NA PRAIA – Litterally “beer on the beach”. This is the beer the barraca owners will sell you while you sit in their chairs. It comes in big bottles or cans that are insulated and some small plastic cups so you can keep the beer you are not yet drinking cool as long as possible. Sure, it will most definitely be SKOL, but when you are on the beach on a hot day and it is served estupidamente gelada (stupifyingly cold), and at 3 reais ($1.50) for a 600ml (a 40) serving, you’ll enjoy it.
Have you got a favorite beer in Brazil? Vamos . . . comment about it below!
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