Saturday, July 30, 2011

Various Latin American Beers

From L to R: Barba Roja Stout (Argentina), Patricia Dunkel (Uruguay), Bucanero Fuerte (Cuba), Patagonia Pale Ale (Chile)
My experience with beer in other Latin American countries is similar to most traveler's experiences with beer in Mexico. If you are lucky you get a choice between clara and obscura, other times you get a choice between a light beer and an extra light beer. So, if I happen to find a beer in Mexico from another Latin American country that looks more interesting I won't hesitate to try it. I don't know if these beers in their own countries are considered cerveza artesanal or not since I've never had them in their country of origin, but they are all at least a step above the usual swill that passes for beer.

Barba Roja - I've only tried this stout from Barba Roja, but I've seen several other less appealing styles they make, like a pale ale with herbs and flowers. According to their website, they make 13 different styles but I've only seen three available in Mexico. (If someone knows where to find their smoked red ale, let me know!). This stout is a fairly standard stout, similar in body and flavor to a Sierra Nevada Stout. It is a little too light-bodied for me, but it is very drinkable and a well made beer. My local Superama has a special section dedicated to Argentine products, and that is where I found this beer. I haven't seen it available anywhere else, although there must be an Argentine restaurant somewhere in the city that serves this beer.

Patricia - Pictured above is a Patricia Dunkel, which I was not a big fan of. It is an ok brown ale, but much sweeter than I like. I've also had their porter and their lager. Patricia's porter is a really good beer and worth trying if you like porters. The lager is decent as well, although not particularly special. I've seen the porter and lager for sale for about 25 pesos a bottle at City Market in Colonia del Valle. The dunkel is available at the Beer Company in Coyoacán (along with the porter). If you happen across an Uruguayan restaurant in the city, you are also likely to find Patricia beers. I've found it available in Uruguayan restaurants in Colonia Narvarte and Condesa.

Bucanero - The Bucanero Fuerte from Cuba is a strong lager with 5.4%ABV. They also make an extra strong lager (Bucanero Max) with 6.5%ABV, but I have not seen it available anywhere in Mexico. I was pretty disappointed with this beer, it isn't much different from a Heineken, but with a slight sourness to it. I've seen Bucanero at The Beer Company and at La Belga.

Cerveza Austral - This Pale Ale from Chile is pretty awful for a pale ale. It is very malty, with almost no hops discernible in the nose or the taste. It is drinkable, but if you are expecting a pale ale this will be a serious letdown. I found this at The Beer Company, along with a few other styles from the same brewery which I am now unlikely to try.

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