09 March 2018

Going up in the world

I do love the way good beer bars become nexus points for the world of beer, beyond what they actually stock and sell. The places that develop a reputation for being the go-to pubs for international beer travellers often pick up interesting odds and sods that said travellers bring to share. So it happened that I got to try these two from South America, kindly shared by the management in UnderDog late last year.

The first is Brazilian, from the Amazon Brewery in Belém. Forest Bacuri is named after its signature ingredient, the bacuri, a small citrus fruit native to the area. The beer is just 3.8% ABV so plainly designed for easy-going refreshment, and that's pretty much what it delivers. There's a floral and mineral bathsalts aroma, and a flavour along similar lines: lavender flowers, then Berocca or other soluble vitamin tablets. There's not a whole lot going on beyond that, but it's clean and smooth, and not at all the sugary alcopop I suspected a Brazilian fruit beer would be.

The other was a very different proposition. Cerveza Artesanal Duham is in western Argentina and Duham Barleywine is a beast of 10.5% ABV. Unfortunately it doesn't do much with all that alcoholic potential. The aroma is a musty crêpe-paper thing while it tastes vaguely of caramel and very little else. Overall it's quite inoffensive, with no nasty booze heat or unpleasant solvents, but it's unforgivably plain too: a recipe that needs something done to punch it up, whether that's extra hops or a more exciting yeast, or something else.

It's always nice to get a glimpse of what's going on in an unfamiliar beer scene, however unrepresentative it may be. Suitcase beers like these are invaluable to the nosy but lazy like me.

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