Well, I’m a little out of my element here. We of the WC tasting crew braved the second annual Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest in San Jose this past weekend. Though we pride ourselves on being locavores, beer as they say, “is a whole different animal.” Frankly, I felt out of my depth.

welcome to the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012

welcome to the Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest 2012

Held at the San Jose Women’s Club, the location couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s on the same street with what looked like at least a dozen fraternities connected to San Jose State U. I was having flashbacks to my college days. As you can probably imagine, this “free” event was mobbed. We stood in line for admission for more than half an hour, followed by lines to buy tickets which you exchange for beer samples, lines for beer and lines for the limited food selection. I like people watching, so this didn’t really bother me all that much. Plus, a couple weeks ago I decided to grow a beard, so there was huge opportunity to look at various facial hair styles while waiting. Beer drinkers do seem to like whiskers.

We were part of a group of around six or eight—the numbers kept changing as people came and left. So between us we probably tried at least three dozen ales, porters and stouts. I didn’t keep close track of the tastes or the names. My first, was it the Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre Gavrouche Biere de Garde, or did Hegui try that one? Whichever it was had the nickname “Terrible” which sounded right to me. At any rate, the young guy pouring, who happened to be sporting a crazy long blond Three Musketeers-style mustache, said it was sort of like a beer version of pinot noir. That sounded promising. And it was good: kind of grapey.

After a while they started to blend together: that’s really bitter, very chocolaty, smells like stale coffee, has no taste at all, sort of fizzy like fermented tomatoes, etc. You get the idea. I’m just not a beer person. I did like this Santa Cruz IPA though I didn’t write down the name, so will probably have trouble finding it again.

It was a gorgeous night with clear skies. The moon was this huge crescent shape and Venus was very bright. People were really schmoozing and flirting with one another. This was a kid-friendly event, which is sort of weird when you think about it, but we saw several. I was aghast to observe a very pregnant woman with one of the children. I think that she must have been the designated driver for the flushed bearded guy that was hanging around them, glass in hand. Just a guess.

They ran out of French fries, if you can believe it. Who goes to a beer fest without French fries? We ended up having pizza afterward, but with a local zinfandel instead of more of the brewed stuff. I know: I’m incorrigible.

Our Friends Wit and Amie sent us this link with pics from the site Metroactive. We show up in the in their page

{ 1 comment }

Brazilian beer

by Stevie on February 10, 2010

mmm, Brahma chopp!

Brazilians like beer. It´s the most popular alcoholic drink in that country and it may even be the most popular drink, period. Who knows?

Bohemia and friends are always a party

Unfortuantely, I don´t like beer all that much. It´s a character flaw, I realize, but what can I do? We all have our opinions about things. Actually, Hegui´s sister, Tinha, agrees with me. She says that Brazilian beer is agua choca or stagnant water. She suggested agua suja or dirty water as an alternative. Few Brazilians would agree with that opinion though.

Skol may be at the top of the heap but it's not for me

While travelling in Brazil, it is a necessity to drink Brazilian beer, whether you like it or not. There aren´t a lot of imported beers there though I did have Heineken once. Most cervejas are made in the country itself. They have their own names, flavors, partisans and detractors. After futebol AKA soccer to Americans, I think that the average Brazilian is most engaged in disputes over beer. That´s probably an exaggeration. Just like us at home, mostly Brazilians drink the stuff and talk about other things.

Brazil is happy to host visitors, like this Heineken here

Generally, these beers are pilsner style drinks that are fairly low in alcohol. The few that we really looked at had about 5% EtOH. There seem to be zillions of varieties. I’ll name a few of them that we tried or saw: Skol, Bohemia, Brahma, Antartica, Baden Baden and Nova Schin. Hegui’s sister, Ana, loves Skol and finds Bohemia too amarga or bitter. I think the opposite. To me Skol is more bitter but overall has no flavor or body. I think that it’s sort of like colored water. Bohemia has a bit more structure and taste. Plus I’m turned on by it’s sense of history. Bohemia claims to be the first beer ever produced in Brazil. Neat. Brahma really appeals a lot to me, too.

Like in the U.S., beer is available everywhere in cans, bottles or on tap. If served on tap, it’s called chopp. When it comes in large bottles, it’s usually in a form-fitting thermos-like container to help keep it cold. Brazil is hot after all. We drank a lot of this stuff over our three week stay: at restaurants, at home, on the beach, in the airport, on planes, at parties and so on. You get the idea. Beer is popular here. Saúde!

this Brazilian Therezopolis was excellent though not widely known

where could this Brahma truck be heading?

these great little coolers keep your beer just right in the intense heat

lots and lots of beer choices at the supermarket

Baden Baden is excellent and a bit higher in alcohol than other Brazilian beers

don't let anyone fool you, chopp is the undisputed king of Brazilian beers

Thirsty yet?

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