Brazilian beer is awful. Should I attempt to drink it anyway?


Yes. The major Brazilian beers may be offensively devoid of character, and served estupidamente gelada (extremely, “stupidly” chilled) in the hopes you won’t notice, but drinking beer is an important Brazilian social event with lots of fun rules.

How should you choose what to drink? Since all of your options are terrible, the only important consideration is how classy you want to look while drinking this piss. Here’s the status scale, starting at the bottom:

skol-lata

1. Lata. The can. As sold by street vendors at outdoor concerts, during Carnival and at night in rowdy districts. When purchasing beer in such a situation, Brazilians feel the can before paying and if it’s not deemed cold enough, they refuse the purchase.

 

 

antartica-latao2. Latão. The big can, a slight step up.

 

 

 

 

chope

3. Chope. Draft beer. Unlike serious beer-drinking countries, where draft is often considered fresher and therefore better than bottles, Brazilians consider chope rather low on the beer scale.

 

 

 

long-neck-brahma4. Long neck. Pronounced, cutely, “longey necky”. Brazil is extremely class-conscious; a wealthy person could be caught drinking one of these and survive with dignity intact.

 

 

 

long-neck-brahma5. Litrão. Literally, the “big liter”. If you’re drinking this, you’re sharing with friends and you have a serious thirst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antartica-original6. Garrafa. The 600ml “bottle” is the most normal option. It’s big enough that you’re of course sharing it with friends, but not so big that it risks getting warm before you finish it. This brand, Antártica Original, is considered by many serious Brazilian beer drinkers to be the best. It’s not, it’s just as horrifyingly bland as the others, but you should order it if you want Brazilians to think that you share their “refined” tastes.

 

 

 

 

 

camisinha-cervejaFrequently, your garrafa will be served wearing a camisinha (“condom”), a plastic piece of insulation that helps keep it “stupidly” frigid. To properly operate a garrafa, check out our next post.

 

7 Comments

  1. April 1, 2014
    Reply

    Definitely try the new craft beers, as they can be surprisingly good. In SP, Jupiter makes great APA, IPA, there is Urbana also, with fine beers. From the South, Abadessa makes great lager (you can find them in SP), Bode Brown from Curitiba, Wahls from BH. New, vibrant scene, with over 400 brewers throughout the country. The usual industrial beers suck, US-like.

  2. February 1, 2014
    Reply

    Yup, the beer here is just like piss!!! But i’d like to confirm that microbreweries here are awesome. I live in Juiz de Fora, and here we have (among many others) the Brauhauss, where the menu depends on the weather, or the time of the year. So it’s never boring… But the comments on the coffee are unfair.

  3. January 29, 2014
    Reply

    Just a comment: chopp/chope is not just draft beer. It’s non pasteurized beer and that’s the reason why you should drink that just on venues that sells a lot of it, because once you have opened the barrel, it will last about 3 or 4 days before it spoil.

    But in general, I agree with you: brazilian beers, which is based on american beers (so, Brahma is basically a Budweiser) are really awful. But you can find good beer from microbrewers, such as: Baden Baden (try their hefeweisen, it’s very close to German beers), Coruja, Eisenbahn, Wähls, Colorado, Bamberg, among others.

    • February 4, 2014
      Reply

      Interesting, and I’ve heard likewise from others; I’ll look forward to trying some of those next time I’m in Brazil. I have sought out (tricky to do) Brazilian microbrews on past stays in Brazil and been disappointed, but I’m sure there are good things to discover.

  4. January 20, 2014
    Reply

    Even Bolivian (Paceña) and Argentinian (Quilmes) beers are better. And if you try something from Europe you’ll see this even more clearly. I once got very fond of Tuborg and Carlsberg (which are from Denmark, I guess), but they are now expensive and hard to find.

    I had long been intrigued by this lack of quality in all major beers until I read an article mentioning a recent research by University of São Paulo (USP) which revealed that our “beer” is actually made of 45% “un-malted cereals” (which is anything that’s not malt, but in this case means “maize”). Yes, our beer is made of maize. And beer brewers are pushing for a legislation to allow the increase of this proportion, to make beer cheaper. The government, OTOH, is trying to reduce it, to make beer more expensive (and reduce drinking).

    This angered me so much that I jokingly told some friends that if I had the money I’d start brewing 100% maize and sell it under the name of “cauim” (the indian beverage made of maize) for double the price (it’d be a good business model, I guess).

    BTW, there are good beers in Brazil. You just have to read the badge and look for the dreaded “cereais não maltados” string. It it is there, then it’s not beer, but a poor substitute. But if it’s not there, then it’s beer (though the quality may vary).

    Here’s the original USP research, mentioning brands that don’t use this gimmick to reduce price.

    http://www5.usp.br/17833/composicao-da-cerveja-inclui-mais-que-cevada-lupulo-e-agua-aponta-cena/

  5. January 16, 2014
    Reply

    I’m from Brazil, and totally agree.

    You can find some good beers just in microbreweries

    Try Coruja Beer.

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