Brazilian beers and breweries are conquering the palates, Brazilians and foreigners. A reflection of this is the fact that Brazilian brands are increasingly prominent in important international awards. I often say that these awards are a method of quality, quality that is common sense among the most connected Brazilian consumers.
But, what beers do we do?
Concerning the brewery, we limit the menu of options so that we can continuously supply the market. The consumers, the amplitudes and the offer of guides of styles.
As main brewing schools, according to most of the bibliographies and common sense: German, Belgian, English (with their correlatives) and what they call New World, where we observe USA, Japan, Argentina and perhaps Brazil, according to Doemens Akademie didactic material . This new Mundo Novo school is very new. But what do we add?
You already know about time and follow-up. There are no ingredients on the basis of the beers that allow us to create a style for now. The concept of beer "Alcoholic beverage, with grains cooked in water, added hops, fermented, matured, gassed" reveals how far we are from creating a style, at least with the basic ingredients as the beverage concept suggests. Let's evaluate the ingredients.
They are not welcome, but they are not welcome, but they are not successful.
Hops are not different, they are not the same in scale for everyone to use or have their own characteristics. A lot of research is being made, an offer that is still very timid and a long way from getting stocked as breweries.
As far as the important yeasts, few are like the typical isolated Brazilian ones that reproduced characteristics we already know, we can highlight the best known work being Gabriela Montandon’s and some other discoveries that require more study.
Luckily we have water, lots of water, with different profiles in this longitudinal country, and I do not think we can create a beer style with only water. We hope that the supply of national inputs will happen soon.
But recently, there is a manifestation that can create the first style of Brazilian beer. Sour beer with fruit, Catharina Sour. A style, not a school, please.
In brewing schools mentioned above, some styles refer to acidity. In the Belgian school, like Gueuzes, they refer to acidity, but these are beers with a singular construction, sometimes with old hops and / or matured in wood for long periods, they do not predict the addition of fruits and when they have fruits they are categorized as Fruit Lambic. Americans, who are as inventive as we, Brazilians, develop their American Sours, however the base of the beer can vary widely, not necessarily using wheat and with a base of malts that can be of a dark beer, or not spices or fruits. It’s really good to remind that the Americans are responsible for writing the two most popular style guides in the whole world, the BJCP and BA, both came out in the 80s. Hello? Until the 80's there were no American styles, at least cataloged. At the German school, the iconic Berliner Weisse is a beer that most resembles, predicts use of wheat malt or unmalted wheat, low alcohol graduation and yet does not predicts addition of fruit. Let's talk more about Berliner Weisse. BJCP summarily does not predict fruits in beer, and BA mentions fruity esters, the result of fermentations, but the BA opens prerogatives without a guide mentioning the fact that there are possibilities of subcategories. This is what we want to normalize. Acid beer with fruit is not cataloged correctly, come to Catharina Sour.
Many professionals in this area, sommeliers and beer judges encourage you to have the beer with fruit and insects in contests corresponding to the 34C-Experimental Beer style, which I initially agree to make sense. Now, when dozens of breweries dare to reproduce a style, organized as such, offered on-line, inventively, a distinct offering of fruits and spices, such an experimental phase ceases to make sense. When many reproduce, and with quality, such a product is no longer experimental.
This year, 2017, the Brazilian market is stocked with excellent sour beers, consumers and breweries in their own way organized themselves in the Catharina Sour style. In the competition of the POA Beer Cup, this year's Brazilian competition, and the next Brazilian Beer Festival in Blumenau, the 2018 Brazilian Beer Competition, the Catharina Sour style was opened, as a result of this stimulus for the beer. It has ceased to be experimental.
So, we who have 316 Brazilian cataloged fruits, and thousands of fruits that have adapted to our continent, and I’d say our country, we use these varieties to create beers. Many of these fruits are acidic and citrus, ideal to be used as adjuncts in beers.
In 2015, Acerva Catarinense brought to the Brewer Technical Congress in Florianópolis the author of the book American Sour Beer, Michael Tonsmeire. The American was very attentive to everyone and motivated many brewers in Santa Catarina and other states to make their beers sour and refreshing. We are very fortunate to have brewers who are used to the small pots, that get professional very fast and are very creative.
A few months later, ACASC, the Association of Microbreweries of the State of Santa Catarina, seeing the offer of sour beers by many breweries, such as Blumenau, Itajahy, Das Bier, Liffey, Lohn Bier among others (forgive me if I let out some), intelligently organized them so that with the similarity of the beers, we had an ordered style guide with fruits, even suggesting an auxiliary text compatible with a traditional guide. There we have what we call Catharina Sour. The name suggests a Brazilian state, which may not encourage the sympathy of other breweries in other states at first. But the public understood, many breweries from other states as well, nominally we can mention this beer being played in. Also handcrafted breweries, spread throughout the country, replicate with praise the Catharina Sour.
In June I went to Argentina and made a Catharina Sour with Cerezas Mendocinas in the distant city of Poterrilhos. In October I returned to Córdoba invited to the Oktoberfest of Vila General Belgrano (third largest in the genre in the world) to give a lecture about the style. In December Marcelo Rogio, one of the brewers and owner of Penon, one of the largest breweries in Argentina, came to visit Lohn Bier and understand the production processes of Catharina Sour.
With many competitions taking place in Brazil and Latin America, several members of the BJCP already have in mind the tastings and concepts of Catharina Sour. Gordon Strong was in Florianopolis judging a craft contest of the Santa Catarina Acerva and vibrated with the Best Of Show (BOS) being a Catharina Sour. Spurred on by the contest, he eternalized his experience in the recording of a Podcast with Brad Smith at BeerCast, aired on September 27, 2017, where one can openly observe the naturalness with which beer is treated. Gordon Strong later published his article in Brew Your Own magazine, replicated repeatedly in English and Portuguese on social networks.
Pete Slolsberg at the Mondial de La Biere in Rio de Janeiro in 2017, visited brewery stands seeking the style, I give my testimony as truth, he and his wife kept me company for a long time, and I also recorded a video as testimony. At that moment I still did not know that Bergamota Catharina Sour had received a gold medal at the Mondial. Incidentally, Bergamota Catharina Sour won a silver medal at the 2017 World Beer Awards, and Goethe Grape Catharina Sour was voted World Best in the Fruit and Vegetable category, so the best fruit beer in that important contest is a Brazilian beer, or a Catharina Sour one. A few months earlier, in the distant city of Cusco in Peru, I spoke with Scott Bickham, who tasted and praised the work that had just been launched.
Brazil does not have dimensions of a country, but of a Continent, with 4 different time zones, a range of geographic longitude also enormous.
However, we are a country that consumes very cold drinks, because in most states we have high temperatures for several months of the year. Light beers, with little alcohol and sparks, bring refreshment and tropical aromas, characteristic of our country. The Catharinas Sour are gaining more and more fans, whether by adults of taste or by new consumers, for being a simple beer and easy to understand. Acidity and fruit, sparingly and aromatic, simple as such. Now compared to sparkling drinks like sparkling or soft drinks, they are priced even more competitive than other more elaborate beers and there will always be a fruit offering that appeals to you most.
I talk openly about it all the time, and I'm hoping this beer turns into style. We make great German Weiss beers, British Pale Ales and Belgian Strongs. Brazilians replicate every school very well. But what about our beer? What would you offer to a gringo saying "this beer is ours"? Let's keep making and replicating good beers, but let's have identity.
In gastronomy, pizzas are as democratic as beers. You must have consumed somewhere what Brazilian pizzaiolos call Pizza da Casa, the one that did not fit the standards, but that deserves to be prestigious. Of course every pizzeria has its own, its ingredients unprecedented. On the next visit to a pizzeria dare to order a Pizza da Casa with a Catharina Sour. There are only 15 types of pizza in the world? What an annoying world it would be.
We're all brewers. When people learn a little, just a little about beers, they soon feel able to polarize the conversations at the bar table about beers. So we should pay attention to this new style, which has not yet been cataloged, of course, but that for now is the biggest Brazilian candidate to become. Catharina Sour, with fruit, the future first Brazilian style, yes, from Brazil. Good vibes with good beers is what we want, and whoever is on the other side may be thinking of being on the right side, but it will be just the other side. Cheers!