Two weeks in and I’ve found some beers, not great beers, mind you, but beers. In a country known for it’s wine, I didn’t expect much, and wasn’t proven wrong. So far the beer hasn’t been terrible, just a bit uninspired. That of course doesn’t do justice to the craft beer scene here. As paltry as it seems to be, there is one, and it looks like it can only get bigger at this point.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of offerings of craft- and micro-brews, but even more surprised with the cheap beer. For several years now I have been so focused on craft beer that I have forgotten what beer really is (and has been for millennia): a way to get some extra calories and hydration.
If you boil beer down to that, as great as craft beer is, it can be a bit of an abomination. I had forgotten the pleasure of cheap lagers, drunk the world over for their refreshing qualities in both crisp-ness and ease of flavor. Enter Escudo. Escudo is a pale lager brewed here in Chile by Compañia Cervecerias Unidas, the parent company of which is Heineken.
Its a crisp clean lager, no frills, no pomp, and good drinking. It comes in cans and liter bottles, the latter of which is my favorite. The liter bottles are recyclable with plastic screw caps. This actually works great as it lets you re-cap the beer for the next night. My other favorite part about these liters is that they cost anywhere from CLP 1,500 to 1,700 in most botellerias (corner liquor stores), which is between USD 3 and 4. Not a bad deal at all. The cans can be bought individually as well, for CLP 750, or about USD 1.50.
Escudo also comes in a negra flavor (black beer) which adds an additional punch of malt and varies up the flavor a bit. With the original and the negra, I feel that my day to day beer choices are fulfilled, and that allows me to focus on the more expensive (by a considerable margin) craft- and micro-brew options that Chile has to offer.
What was the last beer revelation you had? What about a beer that surprised you?