Coming from the beer rich nation of Australia into a big wide world of brews, what does a nomadic Aussie traveler make of the first pallet-cleansing experience of his inter-continental global journey?
A ‘mixed’ reaction to the overall experience, with the craft beer scene in Peru bottling up some interesting, and promising flavors, giving me hope that there will plenty of interesting, and different beer experiences along the way.
So when it comes to beer where do I begin in a nation known as the culinary capital of Latin America? And does this countries dynamism when it comes to the dinner plate translate to the beer glass? The jury is still very much out on this, as Peru is the first country I’m visiting on my trans-continental culinary journey, so we’ll have to wait and see how Colombian, Chilean, Mexican, and indeed how other beers stand up against one another on the Latin American beer wall.
So how do I like my beer? Well, for starters people who know me well know that I like to enjoy a more hoppier IPA – so a brew full of flavor, and a brew that’s not too overly fruity, but is fragrant after the first pour is what I look for in a good brew. My second preference is probably a more full bodied darker ale such as a Guinness – where the flavour is distinct and dark, and the consistency is frothy and smooth when it comes to the head, and then smooth and silky right through to the body. A head that keeps itself consistent throughout the drink, leaving a level of frothiness at the bottom of the glass after said beer has been consumed – this is what I consider quality beer. The more hoppier IPA’s are my regular go-to beer, whereas the darker ales are more for a weekend, or the rare Friday night at the pub with mates where you’re essentially looking for a meal in a pint glass, knowing full well that because you haven’t eaten dinner that you’ll eventually succumb to the late-night greasy snack (aka a kebab, or fried chicken) before bed, but be glad that you had some pub ale nourishment earlier on in the evening.
So what exactly is a good brew in Peru? The industry from what I can gather is a very niche, and young market. While Australia has a flourishing craft beer market with heaps of players, boutique brewers, and small artisan businesses all vying for the top spot on the annual Aussie craft beer hottest 100 list, the market in Peru seems smaller, and is largely concentrated in the hands of a few players, which makes for reviewing the beers relatively easy and straightforward, but doesn’t offer variety when it comes to flavors, and finding (for example) a hidden gem of a brew among a thriving market.
The Barbarian 174 IPA (green label) is a clear head, with a clear golden body, the fragrance is sweet, cramelly, malty, with a moderate citrus – hoppy flavor. Consistency is rather dry, which translates well with its bitter character, and the flavor overall and its aftertaste is somewhat sweet, yet bitter.
The Custombre Red X IPA is quite a hoppy beer from the get-go. It’s bursting with strong red colour, and has a malty caramel fragrance, with hints of ginger flavour.
This dark ale had a lot of dark ale characteristics, in terms of flavour it has a citrusy pine and hop flavour, with fruits and dark berries. Its character is defined as malty-caramely.
This was a very easy beer to.drink, and it went down well with the meal I was having at the time – Lomo Saltado.
This brew was what I had at the Wicks BrewPub in Barranco – and it was what I was hoping for since walking in the doors of this pub.
The Madchester Golden Ale was deliciously clean and crisp, yet malty in flavor, with a head that was frothy and consistent throughout the consumption.
So there really is good craft beer to be enjoyed in Peru, even if the industry and scene overall seems young at present.