Monday, 24 June 2013

Mondial Review: Brazil's Best (of Fest) Beers

Following up on my previous Mondial de la Bière reviews here, here, and here, I am finally wrapping up my geographically-narrowed reviews of the bests of fest.

Though America still leads the world in the craft beer revolution, this event made clear that Canada, Italy, and Brazil are gaining (while Belgium remains a different sort of gold standard).  Though I did have some Brazilian offerings that were decent to good, the diversity of styles being brewed there is reflected by the excellence of the noted diversity reviewed below.

Brazil brought what was, for me and two of my colleagues, the absolute top beer of the fest of those we tried.  That was the Petroleum (12 % ABV American Imperial Stout) from Cervejaria Wäls.  Pouring a deep black with a fine mocha head, this beer wafts a sweet milk chocolate nose, though a more nuanced taste that begins with similarly sweet chocolate notes before a nice drying coffee-dominated finish coupled with a full body.  I could have drank this all day (and at 12% it would have been a short all day), but (despite immense palate enjoyment elsewhere) I spent the rest of the festival chasing this dragon and - upon my return for another taste - it was gone!  But next time - and there will be a next time - I will be drinking more than 4 ounces of this!  Grade: A+

Wäls stood out again with their Brut (an 11% Brut or Champagne beer), a pleasant rarity as the only one of 600 beers at the festival within its style, and one of less than two dozen brewed around the world (that beeradvocate is aware of anyway!).  This excellent brew poured a hazy dark yellow to light amber body with a nice fizzy white head.  Aromas exuded were of tart cherries and mildly sour fruits alongside hints of sweet raspberries.  Tastewise, it was pleasantly sweet with just a hint of Brett in a drying finish complemented by a full body and substantial carbonation, as anticipated.  Just a delight to imbibe!  I have only ever had two Bruts - one at each of the last two Mondial's - and I do believe this style is worth the hype!  Like champagne... but better beer!  Grade: A/A+

Yet another delight came from Cervejaria Colorado.  This time it was a 9.5% ABV Double IPA called Vixnu.  Vixnu poured a cloudy amber (making me wonder if it was unfiltered or dry-hopped, though I found nothing online to confirm this).  Its fair head presented an oaky-citrus with pine residing behind, while it transformed in the mouth from a sweet malty caramel to a finely dry fruity mango-citrus finish coupled with some resinous pine notes alongside a noteworthy and enticing linger.  The fuller-side-of-medium body complemented the brew and this was another I could have spent my day consuming.  Grade: A/A+

I would next note another brew - in yet another style - from Colorado once again; this time their Berthô (an 8% ABV American Brown Ale).  Pouring a light-ish brown, this beer presents a malty sweet nose dominated by mild caramel notes and traces of nuts.  The taste is similar, yet finishes with a slightly drying earthy and herbal hops.  It offers a full body and a tingly carbonation, yet the body smoothes out this strong carbonation giving it a creamy edge nonetheless.  Grade: A-/A

Finally, I'll briefly assess Cervejaria Bodebrown's Black Rye IPA (7% ABV).  This style-mixer poured a deep, dark brown, with a solid beige head even for a sample.  It wafted notes of pine without much presence of the malt base.  Tastewise, there were some notes of toasted bready maltiness preceding a dry piney, resinous finish with some grapefruity citrus notes in the linger which also picks up some spicyness.  Medium-bodied and carbonated, and fully drinkable!  Grade: A-/A

I'd also send my warmest regards to Whitaker & Vega Cervejaria for their Karavelle Dunkel and Cervejaria Coruja for their Labareda Keller, which both nearly made the review cut, but fell into the pleasant, but not fantastic category for my own tastes.  (Neither, however, falls in a category I love - though I do like both - but fans of these styles may wish to seek them out for a more thorough, personal assessment!)

I promise a brief best-of-show final review shortly, but til then, drink well but responsibly, and if you find yourself on vacation, seek out these marvels worth your dollars.

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