I’ve been so busy of late exploring great British beers for The Brewclub that I’ve neglected the beers of the wider world. Of course that’s also due in part to me having not spotted many ‘new’ beers on the shelves of my local stores and brewmongers.
I did, however, stumble across ‘Palma Louca’ the other week; a ‘pilsner style lager’ from Brazil, presumably imported to cash in on this summer’s soccer World Cup and upcoming Olympic games in Brazil. It’s brewed by the Kaiser brewery in the City of Jacarei, some fifty miles north east of Sao Paolo. Jacarei is known as ‘The capital of beer’ and the Kaiser brewery is Brazil’s second largest, a subsidiary of Heineken.
I’ve reviewed South American beers in the past, a couple of German style beers from Brazil (here), a dire brew from Argentina (here) and a reasonable pilsner from Peru, but hey, no preconceptions, let’s try another beer from Brazil.
Well, it pours a pale amber, with a crisp white head that rapidly fades, leaving a trace of lace. The nose is hoppy, dry, lager hops, possibly saaz, but I suspect not as they’re – as one ‘premium’ lager in the UK describes them – ‘reassuringly expensive’.
The flavour? Well it’s dry and crisp, but there’s a mess of flavours lurking in there, the hints of corn syrup and rice, cheaper adjuncts to power the fermentation. It’s not particularly balanced, or refreshing, and let’s face it, that’s what you want from a pilsner style beer. It’s a cheap brew, probably designed to quench the thirst of factory workers, now being branded to appeal to ‘beer tourists’ – much like Mexican brews that are served from the bottle with wedges of lime to mask the absence of any flavour.
I’m going to give this two Brewclub stars – at a push. It’s not as bad as the Argentine ‘Quilmes‘ lager I tried, but frankly it’s not worth the cost of shipping the product from Brazil.
Save your beer money and spend it on a local craft brew.
While attempting to research Palma Louca for The Brewclub I stumbled across a review describing the beer’s launch in the United States (at a beer tasting held in the U.S. Botanic Gardena in Washington D.C. in May 2009) – the beer’s American importers reported that “Palma Louca elicited delighted raves from tasters“. I’m sceptical, normally my response to ‘delighted raves from tasters’ would be “I’ll have what they’re drinking.”
In this case I’ll pass.