Brazilian Craft Beer
With the 2016 Rio Olympics in full swing, we decided to take a virtual beer road trip to Brazil and check out what the locals are drinking. Brasil Craft Beer vamos nós!
By Shira Kogut on Aug. 11, 2016
Brazil: synonymous with so many B words… beach, BBQ, beauties, Bossa Nova and BEER! I have to say I knew all the others, but I’d never really associated beer with Brazil. Well you learn something new everyday. When I began researching for this article I thought I’d find very little, so can you imagine my surprise in finding out that not only is there quite a sizeable beer market in Brazil (it is apparently the 3rd largest in the world according to Anderson Antunes article in Forbes Magazine “The 30 Best Craft Beers Available in Brazil“), but the craft beer market is growing at exponential rates.
Currently, there are about 300 small craft breweries in the country and competition is fierce. Craft beer costs 3x as much as industrially brewed beer, but it’s rising numbers prove that many people are willing to spend money on a better product with better ingredients. The whole idea behind craft beer is that it supports buying locally, but unfortunately the Brazilian government has not quite jumped on the bandwagon charging a 50% tax to the cost of local beers and beverages in general (wine and spirits included). This makes competition with imported beer products even more difficult, but nonetheless craft breweries are pushing forward.
Like in the US, Canada and many other places around the world, the bigger companies are buying up craft breweries, so they can also get a piece of the craft brewery pie. In Feb.2015, Brazil’s Ambev (the Brazilian branch of Anheuser-Busch InBev) bought Wals (one of Brazil’s most popular craft beer companies). In 2014, Wals was the first Brazilian brewery to win a gold medal at the World Beer Cup for its Dubbel beer. Brazil’s potential is also being noticed by other craft beer labels around the world and they are rushing to join the creative juices flowing in the land of Samba and Bossa Nova. Companies like Stone Brewing of San Diego have collaborated with Bodebrown to create the Cacau IPA.
The booming beer industry in Brazil is in part because of the large ethnic German population found there. By the mid-19th Century almost 20% of immigration to Brazil was from Germany. The largest concentration of Germans outside Germany, Austria and the US is in Brazil. Between 1824 and 1972, about 260,000 Germans settled in Brazil. There are even breweries which make beer according to the German Reinheitsgebot like Eisenbahn and apparently the Oktoberfest in Blumenau is a force to be reckoned with.
According to Draft magazine’s 5 Reasons to Watch the Brazilian Craft Scene Brazilian breweries also have a unique challenge on their hands. Because the climate is not conducive for growing hops all their hops are imported from the US and Europe making it very expensive. In order to keep costs down, they must find creative ways around this, such as using unusual local ingredients like locally grown fruits and coffee grounds.
The list below was adapted from a list created by AllBeers, a Brazilian website for Cicerones, and published by food and beverages magazine Prazeres da Mesa. Also take a look at some of these beer reviews from renowned beer expert Randy Mosher and the Beer Temple’s Cicerone Chris Quinn.
Brazil’s Top 15 Craft Beers
7. Eisenbahn 5
9. Wals Dubbel
11. Dum Petroleum
15. Burgman Casanova
This list is not nearly exhaustive. There are 100s if not 1000s to try and I guarantee you that you will find your favourites. Another list to check out is Adrian Spinelli’s 8 Craft Beers from Brazil .
Click the name of the Brewery to see more beers:
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