Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year: a potpourri of Patagonian beers

In southern Argentina and more especially Chile, the right thing to do would be to drink the local wines. But my partner doesn't drink alcohol and most of the places we ate didn't sell wine by the glass, so instead I decided to sample as many varieties of local beer as I could in 10 days. Some impressions:

1-Quilmes-Blue2.jpg 2-Quilmes-Bock.jpg
In Argentina, the standard brew, available everywhere is a blond Quilmes. Think Budweiser -- with approximately the equivalent warm piss quality. Occasionally Quilmes Bock is also available. It is a little better.


The Chilean equivalent is Austral, very similar. And also not very appealing.

4-Gulmen-roja.jpg 5-gulmen-negra2.jpg
In El Calafate (Argentina), I ran across this fearsome looking local brew. The Gulmen Red was quite tasty; I found the Black Porter bitter.

6-Morenito-Malta.jpg 7-Antares-Scotch2.jpg
The Morenita Malta (Chile) had quite a strong, sweet flavor, as did the Antares Scotch Artesanial (Argentina). The latter brand is eclectic; they not only make beer but also offer a Barley Wine in a similar bottle.


When you think of yourself as living at the back of beyond, as Patagonian residents often do, it's not surprising somebody has brewed an other worldly beverage. This one too had a good flavor.

10-Patagonicus-Chalten-negra2.jpg 9-Patagonicus-Chalten-roja.jpg
Far and away the beer I enjoyed most turned up at our most remote stop. El Chalten is always referred to as "Argentina's newest town," a community of about 1000, really sort of a backpackers', trekkers' and climbers' base camp still barely attracting a permanent population. There we wandered into a pizza joint and climbers' bar that made its own hooch. The Patagonicus Chalten Negra was a little bitter, but the Patagonicus Chalten Red was delicious.

Don't get the wrong idea; I only had one of these at any given sitting ... and mostly didn't want more. But the beer survey made for a pleasant sub-agenda for our trekking vacation. In the new year, it's back to the old work: peace, justice, and thankfulness for whatever good comes. May we all find and make lots of the last in the coming year!


Kay Dennison said...

What an interesting post!!!

Happy New Year, Jan to you and yours!!!!!

Javier A. said...

Hi!!! interesting comments you made about all our beers.
I´m Distributor for Gulmen Beers in Buenos Aires City.
Maybe you´ll find it interesting to know that when you or your friends arrive to the Capital of Argentina on the next trip will found our six styles of Gulmen in cosmopolitan areas like San Telmo, Palermo, Recoleta, Downtown o La Boca.
If you need more info write us: or follow us: "Gulmen Cerveza Artesanal" in Facebook.
It was a really interesting surprise to find a comment referring to our "hand made" (if you allow me) Beers.
Congrats for you blog, very nice trip you´ve done in our country.

Greetings from the "neversleeping" Buenos Aires Tango City.

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