Before I begin this text, I must admit: I like craft beer. I spent 8 years in Germany and liked Weissen (wheat) and the regional ones that you only find in the region of Rhein-Main, where you lived. I returned to live in Curitiba in 2007 and since then I have been following a revolution in my city. We became the Capital of Handcrafted Beer and I guarantee it was pure merit and not a title given by chance! I went to investigate what is behind this and I now bring a summary of a curious lay for you to understand better than it is all this.
I do not want to turn anyone into a brewer, but knowledge is never too much. So here are the topics of this post:
– After all, what is craft beer?
– Where does this trend come from?
– And why there are so many craft breweries in Curitiba?
– Brief description of some breweries
– Cerveja da Mata Atlântica – going a little bit further
“I’ve never had draft beer, which is better?”
– What’s the difference between chopp and beer?
– Which bars sell homemade beer in Curitiba?
– Some curiosities
After all, what is craft beer?
In English the terms are very clear: there are the homebrewers, which produce beer at home, in the pot (paneleiros around here) and the craft brewers, who are the artisan beer producers, who already have equipment on a larger scale for marketing.
Visiting an artisan brewery I questioned why they still considered themselves “handcrafted” because the production seemed great to me. The main difference is that in the production of handmade beer everything is chosen manually, very carefully. The amount produced is also much smaller. While preparing 1,500 liters at a traditional brewery in a large industry, the production is 100,000 liters at a time. The “limit” in Brazil to be considered artisanal is 360,000 liters per month. That is, quite small comparing with the great ones out there!
Beer is basically water, malt and hops, as already determined by a German law of 1516 (yes, there is a law for that! – Reinheitsgebot, ie the law of purity). Malt and hops are expensive and the mass industry mixes other things in preparation to make it cheaper. That is why many experts argue that in Brazil we drink something else, which is not beer (corn mixture, for example).
While a craft beer takes an average of 21 to 45 days to get ready (some up to 1 year!), The most common beer takes approx. 7 to 10 days. The time of “maturation” is much shorter and as the “little mixes” go, the headache is inevitable when taking too much.
Where does this trend come from?
The main point is: drink less and drink better. The influence of craft beers comes from the United States. There are more than 5,000 artisanal breweries today in USA, while in Brazil they are approx. 600 today (Apr / 18). Paraná concentrates 10% of the breweries, but it takes 20% of the prizes!
Americans have more access to craft beers, as the price difference is quite small compared to Brazil. Here artisan breweries pay much higher taxes than large ones. It’s that well-known (and unfair) game of tax breaks that gets in the way of small ones.
But before anyone comes to say, “Again, we are an American colony” and such a reflection: the fact that encouraging people to consume better and of small manufacturers is something very cool and deserves the encouragement of all. Local consumption encourages jobs, income and is sustainable. Also, drinking less and better is also good for your health.
And why there are so many craft breweries in Curitiba?
Curitiba currently has the largest number of home brewers in Brazil. And this is due to a very good reason: in 2009 the Curitiba fanatics began to organize to buy inputs together. It was not possible to buy malt and hops in small quantities. Among others, Alessandro da Way and Samuel da Bodebrown were pioneers in this movement. The idea was born of teaching other people to make beer at home and thus have more people to share the large packages that were purchased. Bodebrown, the country’s first brewery and Way, now exported even to the United States.
With the growing number of paneleiros, some have seen the hobby a business opportunity and have become businessmen, generating income, jobs and producing fantastic beers that have won medals world-wide. There are lots of beer brands around here. Check out a short video that shows the variety:
The worship of Curitiba breweries is so great that the breweries here make collaborative beers with colleagues from all over the world. You’ll find several of these brewery partnerships and the masters will be happy to explain how they happened. Globalized world in bottles of water, malt and hops!
To better understand all this movement, I visited several of these breweries to bring you a summary of each. For some of them we already have organized tours and for others, just ask to check the availability of care and include in your itinerary in Curitiba. It’s so much fun to know how beer is made, talk to the master brewer and drink straight from the tank. An experience and so much for your trip! Always remember: you will be visiting a functioning industry. Low and closed shoes are required!
To be as fair as possible, the following list is in alphabetical order. Every brewery has its characteristics and the visit is always worth it!
Bastards members have stepped out of the corporate world to embrace their hobby. The curious name came from the perception of the group, that although they made beer, were unknown among the paneleiros of Curitiba. So they decided to make their own brand, very irreverent and with a well thought out marketing footprint. Each type of beer has its characteristic character and the labels attract a lot of attention. But the product line has expanded: coffee, beard oil, sunglasses, sweatshirts and cool t-shirts. It is also a gypsy brewery (produces for third parties) and in total there are 30 different labels. The current capacity is 40,000 liters / month and can still increase to 60,000 liters. The brand also has a very cool pub in Curitiba.
Are you a true beer lover and would like to get deeper knowledge about beer production? What about to visit two different craft brewers and end the tour in the nicest thematic pub in Curitiba? In this tour you will visit Bastards, Maniacs and We are Bastards Pub. More information and booking:
It is the oldest still-functioning brewery in the region. The owner is a legend in the middle and teaches future brewer masters. It started in 2002 at Shopping Estação and nowadays there are also bars at Palladium and Total Shopping in Curitiba. In 2005 Bier Hoff moved to Boqueirão to continue producing his beer, which also went on to be sold in supermarkets. The most awarded is Weissen, but it is also worth trying Pumpkin Ale (pumpkin) and Preto Velho (it takes one year to be manufactured). Today the production is 84,000 liters per month and the factory is being expanded to meet growing demand.
The brand is almost ubiquitous in Curitiba: it has its own bars and an entourage of fans. It is the first brewery school in Brazil and its owner, Samuel, is a charismatic figure of the brewing world. The street where Bodebrown is turned on Friday night and Saturday, when food trucks park there and beer lovers go with their growlers – special containers – to be stuffed right there. These days, its tap house, a bar with 20 different taps opens to the public. Cocoa IPA is the most requested, but the brewery has many fixed and seasonal labels. The courses to learn how to make beer continue happening and are very concurred. The production is 35,000 liters per month and the plant is currently expanding. The new plant will have a capacity of 200,000 liters per month.
Ronaldo Flor, owner of Gauden, leads a group called “Brewery Revolution” (Revolução Cervejeira ) that brings together brewers committed to making the drink more and more known among Brazilians. For this they train monthly attendants of bars, restaurants and supermarkets on the craft beers, so they can better explain to customers and thus encourage local consumption. Gauden is what is called a “gypsy brewery”. In addition to own labels, produces the various brands such as Storm, Pagan, DUM, Morada, Fucking Beer, Madalosso and Klaus Bier. There are 24 different labels: Pilsen is the best seller, but Gengibera (ginger) and DUM’s Petroleum are also worthy of mention, which led to the recording of a film. Murilo, DUM, is one of the celebrities of the brewing world and organizes DUM Day, which is almost mandatory for fans. The irreverent Fucking Beer has created a beer for the Whatafuck burger (see the fun video here). The location of Gauden is very cool, in the neighborhood of Santa Felicidade, which in itself is already one of the attractions of Curitiba.
What about to visit some of Curitiba´s famous sightseeing places and learn about the production of craft beer in the famous gastronomical quarter of Santa Felicidade? In this tour you will visit Gauden. More information and booking:
The couple Suelen and Henrique made Klein a reality in 2009. She stands out from the crowd for her incredible restaurant and range of products, also found in large supermarkets. It’s a bit further away from Curitiba, in Campo Largo, but well worth a visit! In addition to 14 beer labels, Klein also produces cider – nothing to do with the low-budget, Klein’s cider is English-style (a delight!). The big news is the brand Amare, which is already producing Kombucha, a tasty healthy tea. The factory is still in the old address and with production at the limit (80,000 liters per month). Soon it will be next to the restaurant and its production will reach up to 400,000 liters per month – the goal is to make the brand known all over Brazil! The food in the restaurant is great and the ambience is very beautiful.
What about to visit the beautiful natural sculptures of Vila Velha State Park and taste the delicious craft beer at Klein Brewhouse? More information and booking:
Maniacs opened in December 2017 in Curitiba, but it was born experienced. The owners have been importing beers since 2004 and have already outsourced Maniacs to other factories. The microbrewery now has capacity for 10,000 to 12,000 liters per month and is in a cozy and charming bar that seats 30 people well. The beer sommeliers help to choose between the house labels and the menu has items that take ingredients from the beers. The place may also be closed for events or groups at alternate times. The slogan “crazy about beer” brings the brand closer to the fans.
Do you fancy a different tour at evening and learn about craft beer production that makes Curitiba famous? In this tour you will visit Maniacs and We Are Bastards Pub. More information and booking:
This is one of the newest breweries in the Curitiba region and has already started very well! Ol is beer in Danish and was the name chosen by the young owner for his brand. He left his legal career aside to become a master brewer. It explains the whole process in a very didactic and easy to understand. Besides you know the brewing process, you can enjoy with the whole family in the kids space. There is also a bar with choices of pub food, hamburgers, beers and souvenirs. It operates today with 26,000 liters per month.
Alessandro da Way was one of the pioneers in Curitiba and taught a lot of people to make their own beer at home. In 2012 the hobby turned into a very ambitious brewery, which today exports even to the United States! The Way is present in both bars and supermarkets. It has its own event at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum and also promotes charity events. Saturday mornings are family daytime fans: time to fill your growlers and buy your beers at the factory store. These days there are kids space and food trucks on site. Way’s production is 50,000 liters / month and is also expanding the plant to meet demand. The labels of the brand are very characteristic: serigraphs in the bottle or with works of local artists.
Beer of the Atlantic Forest – going a little bit further
It is not only in Curitiba that you will find artisanal breweries. In Morretes there is the Cervejaria Porto de Cima, created by Kurt (American) and Mirian (Brazilian). The brewery is a charm and the beers of the place bring notes of the Atlantic Forest, besides being in the beautiful Morretes. The visit includes explanations about the brewing process and tasting of beers. It is already part of our itinerary Serra do Mar for Booze Lovers, which can be done any day by prior appointment.
I’ve never had craft beer, which one is the best?
The variety of craft beers is gi-gan-tic. I suggest always ordering a local beer to start. In addition, there is an easy rule to follow: see the IBU (international bitterness unit) index, which measures the degree of beer bitterness. The larger this number, the more bitter it is. Therefore, when asking for or analyzing the labels in the market, this is a legal parameter to get started. The most common are Pilsen and IPA. But it has several other styles. There are some with sweeter flavors that remind you of hazelnut or pumpkin (personally, I love it!). Other more lupo (bitter). As time goes by, you will discover which ones you prefer. And I guarantee, anyone who starts to try artisan beers, will drink less and much better. It is a world by itself and an excellent hobby. The tip for you to record your knowledgeable progress is the Untappd application. There you record what beers you have been drinking, evaluate and you can even know where it is being served what in real time. The best themed bars have beer sommeliers (subject matter experts) who will guide you. Very cool!
What’s the difference between chopp and beer?
I, as a curious laywoman, wanted to know this difference as well. So … The chopp is cooler, needs to be refrigerated and has a shorter shelf life as the yeast continues to ferment the product. In suitable storage conditions, a chopp lasts approximately 6 months. The best life chopp is the one you will take directly from the tank, something you only get even while visiting a craft brewery.
In turn, the beers undergo a pasteurizing process to kill the yeast. The already filled bottles are heated and only then labeled. So the durability is longer, from 6 to 12 months. But attention, if the beer has more than 10% of alcohol content, the durability is infinite – almost like a good wine!
Which bars sell craft beer in Curitiba?
If you want to enjoy a good craft beer, but do not have time to visit a factory, since most are further away, here are some tips from places already consecrated. But every day new bars appear throughout the city.
– Maniacs: it is the most central brewery and is in a neighborhood near the center. 20 beer taps and delicious little foods with beer ingredients. And with a good look at the production area. Av. Munhoz da Rocha, 1049 – Cabral. Tel .: (41) 3084-9730
– We are Bastards Pub: it is in Água Verde, very close to downtown. In a beautiful mansion, with live music in the main hall and quieter covered outside area. In addition to 32 taps of chopp, extensive menu of cocktails and food, mainly with pork. Av. Iguaçu, 2300 – Água Verde. Tel .: (41) 3343-0113
– Quintal do Monge: it is in the Historic Center of Curitiba, next to the Igreja da Ordem. Friendly bar with assorted handmade chopps and good food. Indoor area and outdoor tables. Special Customer Paraná has advantages here. R. Dr. Claudino dos Santos, 24 – São Francisco. Tel .: (41) 3232-5679
– Hop n’Roll: large bar with internal and external area with a large variety of local beers and from other places in Brazil. There is also a schedule for groups to make their own beer here. R. Mateus Leme, 950 – Civic Center. Tel .: (41) 3408-4486
– Cervejaria da Vila: this was one of the first bars specializing in beer in Curitiba and still very good. It has programming with bands and varied menu. R. Mateus Leme, 2631 – Bom Retiro. Tel .: (41) 3015-4620
– Before going to the fermentation, a craft beer goes through 3 gigantic “pans”. The first time is water with ground malt that becomes starch. In the second it is filtered to produce the brewing must. In the third it is boiled to remove the bagasse.
“Did you know that the bagasse in the artisan brewing process turns out to be an excellent fertilizer and animal feed?” It is a sustainable process.
– Only after the bagasse has been withdrawn will the liquid go into the tank to start the fermentation with the hops. The total beer process takes 21 to 45 days, but some special types have a lot more time.
– Hops are the ingredient that gives beer bitterness. Some types, like Petroleum, have a huge substance of this ingredient to give the accentuated bitterness.
– Belgium has a wide variety of beers, produced by monks. The patron saint of beer is a Belgian: Saint Arnould. In times where people from contracting diseases due to contamination of the water, he was not as beer maker as not sickened and did not recommend that people did not take water, only beer
I hope you enjoyed the information! When you come to Curitiba, whether for beer or any other reason, you can count on us from Special Paraná 😀