When relaxing on the sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro, you’re going to want cool off with some refreshing local beers. Brewtours took a market research business trip (slash Carnival) to Rio back in March and has prepared your official Brazilian beer guide.
A Cerveja and Chopp
The first thing you need to do is order yourself a beer. You can simply ask for a cerveja (ser-ve-ja) or if you’re at a restaurant or bar you can ask for a chopp (shop-pe) which means a draft beer.
Day Drinking On The Beach
This is one of my favorite cheap and light beers. It also happens to be the third best selling beer in the world and the number one selling beer in Brazil. The reason is because it’s actually a good pilsner. Yes, it’s your standard yellow beer, but it’s not as thin tasting as the other cheap beers and it has more flavor. Definitely not very bitter and very easy to drink. Local Tip: If you go to the beach, rent an umbrella and order your beers from the same place. They’ll bring cold beers to where you are sitting served in beer koozies (see below).
2. ANTARCTICA- Pilsen
Maybe marketing got the best of me or maybe it was the penguins, but this beer is sold everywhere and I had no problem drinking it ever where. Antarctica sponsored everything at Carnival including multiple street/beach festivals and concerts. It also happens to be the 2nd best selling beer in Brazil. Local Tip: This is the most common beer sold by street vendors (2 Reals). You’ll find their styrofoam cooler filled with these blue cans and they will be your best friends.
Antarctica is a very famous Brazilian beer brand and I’ll be discussing their Original beer later.
Skol is an interesting beer. Definitely more watered down than Brahma but still drinkable. I found Skol in multiple towns as well as it’s younger, more trendy brother, Skol 360. Not much to say about it…drink it if you can’t find Brahma or Antarctica.
*If you care about politics, Skol was bought by Brahma which also owns Antarctica, which was then bought by AmBev, which merged with Interbrew to create InBev, which then bought Anheuser-Bush to create AB-InBev. Or, you can just drink your beer on the beach.
To this day I’m still confused how this beer could taste so bad. One thought I have is that I was actually drinking their non-alcoholic beer (it wouldn’t be the first time). Schin is the third most selling beer brand in Brazil and they have many different styles of beer. However, on this particular beach day, all I can say is that their beer was almost undrinkable.
Night Out: Restaurants and Bars
So you’ve moved on from the beach, the sunburn is becoming more noticeable, but it’s time to go out.
Bohemia is a Brazilian brewery (not to be confused with the Mexican beer brewed by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma) which was founded in 1853. It is one of the lighter pilsner beers, but not watery. It’s historical significance and Brazilian roots make it a great choice when enjoying an authentic Brazilian dish.
2. ANTARCTICA – Original
Antarctica makes a second appearance on this review, only this time it’s being served in a bomber and it’s not their pilsner. Their Original is served in authentic local restaurants in in stores, but it’s harder to find near the beach. Sweet, light, and refreshing.
3. Baden Baden – Golden
Cinnamon with brown sugar and vanilla, brewed with wheat. Think about that for a little bit… If you want a beer full of flavor go for this one. I have a lot of respect for Baden Baden because it is one of the few microbreweries in Brazil. Unfortunately, it was bought by the third largest brewery (Schincariol), so I can’t really say it still has it’s ‘craft beer’ label with a lot of confidence.
I’m going to save you the trouble and let you know that Devassa is not a craft brewery. Someone told me that there was a brewery called Devassa so I walked 2 miles to get to this place. Turns out, it’s a chain and there are about 5 of them all over Rio. Moving on, this place offers the same 4 beers all year long and they’re named after girls’ hair: the red, the blonde, the brunette, and the indian?.. It’s nice that I can order an IPA in Brazil, but don’t put yourself out of your way to make it to this place. Also, owned by the same company who owns Baden Baden so not really a true craft beer.