Chilean craft beer

Just met me the former manager of production at CCU, the massive Chilean company that makes nearly all the big wig beer for South America. cervezas-argentina

This is how it went down:

Older gentleman with greying beard, flanel shirt and Einstein peppered hair- "what you doing in France?"

Nitch- "I make beer."

Chilean- "You do WHAT?!" He might not be able to hear me through his nest of hair, his lack of english might require more diction on my part or he could simply be generally confused about the statement.

Nitch- "I uhh, I make beer and... blog about it."

Chilean- <Blank stare>

Nitch- "Do you uhh, do you like beer?"

Chilean- "I made beer for 20  years."

Nitch- "So... you like it?"

After a few minutes of french to spanish to english translations, we concluded that him and his wife love good beer and know the difference between good and no so good. Recenly having tasted a beer infused with orange that they hated. Which means I put them in my friend bracket, because Shock Top is not a beer, it is a soda that gets you drunk.

[caption id="attachment_646" align="alignleft" width="328"]Crystal is one of those mass produced lager types, thus, hot chicks Crystal is one of those mass produced lager types, thus, hot chicks[/caption]

Five kids, six grand kids and a rentel company later, my new friends are partialy retired and traveling around the world. The brewing thing wasn't that exciting as he wasn't very hands on and had a lot of time management pressures that kept him and his wife from getting toes into the that culture of craft beer love that Nitch oh so relishes. He took one look at my brew set up and said, "you made beer with that- you should get it in brass." To which I could only respond, "oh yes! I will! But currently I'm poor."

CCU is the largest Chilean brewer and the second-largest Argentine brewer.

The Company has licensing agreements with Heineken Brouwerijen B.V., Anheuser-Busch Incorporated, Paulaner Brauerei AG, Guinness Brewing Worldwide Limited, Pernod Ricard and Compañía Pisquera Bauzá S.A.

Although Chilean craft beer scene is over shadowed by the well known spicy wines industry of Chile, the movement from mass produced brews and vino consumption is on the decline. Score TWO for the beer culture international! Craft breweries are springing up all over Chile, says my new older gentleman friend.
"It used to be all German stuff but now we have other beer."

Chile has a strong German influence historically spawning from the waves of German immigrants from 1850 and on. Before the Germans Chileans were into the chicha thing, made popular in America by DogFish Head Brewery and their corn chewing cohorts.

Here are a few Chilean craft beer recommendations by New World Review:


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Szot – This is in Santiago, but is one of the most ambitious startups. After getting the recipe down, they purchased a second-hand Belgian-built brewing plant and production has been rising steadily. Stout, Pale Ale, Barley Wine, Amber, Pilsner, Vapor

Kuntsmann -  The most significant brewer in the Lakes District. Their large brewery, restaurant, and beer hall just outside of Valdivia is perhaps the center of Chile’s beer culture. They produce bocks, lagers, and ales according to the Reinheitsgebot of 1516. Kuntsmann’s annual beer festival in late January is one of the most significant cultural festivals in Chile. The beer is sold throughout the southern half of Chile in upscale bars and restaurants. The Sam Adam’s of Chile

Pillán– From Pucón, a beer that prides itself on the purity of the water from clean Lakes District streams. Keli Ale (red ale), Kuri Ale (stout), and a Milla Ale (blond)

Valbier– A new microbrewery from Valdivia region recently put out one of the country’s best Amber Ales, which they call Red Ale, as well as a Black Ale. Really promising

Calle Calle– A microbrewery in the heart of Valdivia with German-Belgian tendencies. Llancahue (lager), Cau-cau (blond, 5.2%), and Cutipay (5%) are on hand, as is their Naguilan (5.5%), my favorite, which takes after an Irish stout with hints of chocolate

ValdiviaCuello Negro– Named after a black neck swan that is local to the region, Cuello Negro, has just a Golden Ale (5.8%) and a stout (8%), though they are two of the best beers available in Chile

Kross: In the Casablanca Valley where Chile’s best white wines are produced is this award winning brewery that produces a Strong Ale, Maibock, an oak aged Kross 5 in 750 ml bottles, and three others. They are keen on food pairings. And one of the most progressive brewers.

Mahina – Easter Island’s first brewery opened this year with a stout and a Pale Ale. Their double fermented, non-filtered and pretty decent. I was just on Easter Island tasting these and was really impressed. They’re not overly complex, but taste great and there has to be something said for the first beer produced on the island.

While sniffing around the net, I found that one of my favorite beer writers Mr. Chris O'Brien of Fermenting Revolution: how to drink beer and save the world, had made a visit down to Chile some years back and wrote a sweet travel blog along the way.

 

The entire world is a beer culture experiment with a constant love of excited taste buds and soothing intoxication. Cheers to the future of Chilean craft beer and to making new friends in odd places!