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28th March
written by Justin

Well it has been a long time since I talked about the various libations that Hazel and I have tried.  Having been to both Argentina and Chile since we left New Zealand, we’ve gained even more of a perspective on how people around the world consume their beer.   Turns out that the pacific coast of the US has a different opinion about beer than most other places in the world!  (Sorry East Coast, Yuengling just doesn’t cut it anymore :) )

In Argentina, we had the realization that there just isn’t much in the way of beer.  The two main players throughout the country were Quilmes, a very light lager whose primary characteristic was that a liter cost US$1.50.  The other choice was Brahma, which costs less than Quilmes.  Neither had much going for them other than that they are cheaper than water around there.  I did enjoy the occasional Brahma (my preferred of the two) but the most interesting beers were found while we travelled around Patagonia.  We went to three Patagonian towns: Ushuaia, El Calafate, and El Chaltén (We also traveled to Chile’s Puerto Natales, but I’m saving that for another post).

Ushuaia is the home of a few local microbrews, the most famous of which is Beagle, named after the Beagle Channel that Ushuaia sits aside.  The reviews were mixed on this “pale ale”, which was a little too sweet for all of us.  Of course my reviews of Ushuaia beers are not going to be very well since most of the time I had a horrific stomache bug going on.

El Calafate and El Chaltén have a few local microbreweries each, but the ones we tried were very similar.  They all had 3 beers: blonde, red, and black.  The themes on each type were the same – blonde is your typical light-colored ale, usually well balanced but not particularly hoppy.  The red had a good deal of sweetness, surprisingly, and the malt came out to the forefront.  The Black beers (that I tasted) both had a very “beef jerky” kind of taste, like they had roasted their barley over hickory wood or some other very flavorful BBQ wood.  The blondes were usually the most drinkable of the bunch, but drinking beef jerky was a very interesting experience to say the least.

Wine is where Argentina really stands out.  The most amazing thing is the price!  Wine there costs approximately the same number of pesos argentinos as it would in USD at home.  That’s a 4x difference!  So, for about $5USD you can have a really delicious wine (Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon).  The restaurants don’t tend to mark up too much either, and all have really tasty house wines available by the cup.

Some of the really nice Argentine reds we had were: Alamos Malbec and Cabernet, and Norton (midrange and up) reds.  On the lower end we really enjoyed Lopez malbec.  I’m sure Alamos is available in the US, but not sure about the rest.

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  1. Bob D

    When you’ve finished your world tasting tour, looks like we’ll need to visit a few classic breweries like yuenglimg, rolling rock and iron city to give you a better appreciation for your eastcoaster roots.

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