I drink a lot of beer. If you know me, that’s an understatement. If you don’t, it’s also an understatement but you’re probably not scoffing to yourself right now. Let’s just say I have ample experience in the consumption of fermented everything to claim a moderate level of knowledge and expertise.
Because of that I’d like to give my two cents to the most commonly encountered beers in Brazil, excluding the bog standard import brands like Heineken and Budweiser.
It won’t be a huge post as there aren’t that many beers sold everywhere and what there is is pretty samey, but even so, there are winners and losers.
So let’s get wasted. I mean, started.
Fuck it. Let’s get wasted AND get started!
Antarctica – 1 out of 5
The unfortunate result of being a beer that people are raised on, Antarctica, like all of beers in this vein is perfectly bland. Watery and lacking in flavour it’s hard to imagine this gaining traction outside of the land of its origin. What taste it does posses is mostly unpleasant with a bizarre aftertaste that, mercifully, does not linger overlong. If you must, try to grab the Subzero version (pictured) which is slightly more palatable.
Bohemia – 4 out of 5
A great little beer that brought us back to Germany and the Czech Republic. Originating from master brewers from Bohemia (surprise!) this actually tastes like a pilsner unlike every other beer we encountered. A slightly hoppy taste with a crisp finish this quickly became our go-to beer in Brazil. If you see it, grab it. Nothing else matches up.
Skol – 2 out of 5
Watery like Antarctica but much more palatable. This is perfectly inoffensive and easy to slam down in the scorching heat and sticky humidity that plagues all of Brazil. Get it ice cold and it will slide down smoothly as water. Not exactly a beer so much as an alcoholic ice water with beer flavouring. The best thing is the name and you should drink it like it says on the tin – SKOL!
Itaipava – 2.5 out of 5
Watery again but with a bit more taste than Skol. Nothing special but if you find it it is an upgrade from most of the crowd. Very (very) slightly hoppy but with a slightly strange smell. Still doesn’t qualify as a real pils despite the claims on the can, but you can definitely do worse in Brazil.
Brahma – 2 out of 5
Totally on par with Skol. Another watery and uninteresting beer that is inoffensive and simple to slam down. Again, make sure it’s ice cold as heat is definitely the enemy of this beer. You’ll see people using this and Skol interchangably much like with Pepsi and Coke.
In summary beer in Brazil is seriously dull business. It’s refreshing but that’s about it. Grab Bohemia where you can, otherwise just grin and bear it. Or hop over a border and grab something better, like the absolutely excellent Colombia Club Roja. In fact, now that I’m in Cartagena I’m going to have one myself. Cheers!