Eventos

La competencia mejora el producto y crea  cultura cervecera

AC9-7La idea de hacer esta competencia surgió hace mucho tiempo. Cuando se tiene un negocio dedicado a la venta de materias primas para fabricar cerveza, en forma natural viene la idea de hacer una competencia así, pero no se había tomado la determinación de hacerlo debido, principalmente,  a que al principio había poca gente haciendo su cerveza en casa y, el conocimiento respecto a los estilos y al proceso de elaboración para lograr una buena cerveza, no era bien conocido. ver más… »


AC9-77

Ustedes se preguntarán ¿qué hace un sommelier profesional desarrollando la labor de Juez Director del Concurso Copas Cervezas de América? La verdad, también me lo pregunté antes de acept

ar vivir la experiencia, y es que fue un planteamiento realizado por los propietarios y organizadores de la Copa, pero debo confesar que me siento honrado y feliz de haber cumplido dicho rol. ver más… »

AC9-56Como una de las tradiciones de raíces alemanas del sur de Chile, El Club Gimnástico Alemán del pintoresco Llanquihue, realiza también su versión del Bierfest. ver más… »

Por Horst Dornbusch

Primero una confesión: cuando recibí la invitación a viajar desde mi hogar en West Newbury, Massachusetts, EEUU a Santiago de Chile para ser juez en el concurso Copa Cervezas de América 2012, me tomó solo un par de minutos para decidir. Rápidamente reorganicé mi agenda y respondí al email: “¡Sí!”. Viajo seguido a Europa, pero nunca antes había ido más al sur que Costa Rica en el Nuevo Continente, por lo que consideré que, visitar Chile, sería una experiencia emocionante…y así fue, tanto en lo profesional como en lo personal.

¿Qué se puede decir de un país donde todos son tan relajados y excepcionalmente amistosos? Mi castellano, que no había usado por décadas, se estaba poniendo viejo y torpe, pero no pareció importar. Donde iba me saludaban con una sonrisa y, al final, todos nos entendíamos. La hospitalidad empezó desde el primer día, luego de mi largo vuelo que duró toda noche desde Boston, vía Atlanta hasta Santiago. No hubo tiempo para estar cansado, ya que todos los jueces estábamos invitados a una fiesta en la casa de Rodrigo Infante, presidente de Copa y editor de la revista Alma Cerveza. La paella preparada por Rodrigo estaba divina; las cervezas y vinos espectaculares y la compañía estimulante y encantadora…una velada perfecta. ¡No había pasado en el país más de una docena de horas y ya me había hecho más de una docena de nuevos amigos!

Al día siguiente, ya bien descansado, todos los jueces subimos a una van y fuimos llevados a Cervecería Szot para un proyecto que planeamos con varias semanas de anticipación: colaboraríamos en la fabricación de la cerveza más internacional del mundo. Habíamos acordado fabricar una cerveza de orígenes clásicos que pudiera ser replicada en todo el mundo, a pesar de que tal vez no se había hecho antes: ideamos así una “Sticke Imperial”. Una Sticke es simplemente una versión más fuerte y parecida al tipo bock Altbier, una Ale antigua alemana, que resulta ser la cervecería local de mi pueblo de origen en Düsseldorf, Alemanía. “Imperializamos” ese estilo de cerveza poco común y clásico, convirtiéndolo en una innovadora, súper fuerte y muy lupulada adaptación de la original — macerada completamente con malta chilena de Maltexco, sazonado con una combinación de lúpulos americanos, ingleses y alemanes, fabricada en una cervecería chilena por jueces expertos provenientes de Chile, Argentina, Brasil y Estados Unidos, y madurada en un fermentador con chips de roble francés de tostado medio. La malta fue auspiciada por Maltexco; los lúpulos por Brewers Supply Group de Estados Unidos; y la levadura por Fermentis/LeSaffre de Francia. Según Kevin Szot, dueño de Cervecería Szot, la cerveza terminada, “combinaba armoniosamente la acidez del lúpulo, el dulzor de la malta achocolatada y el sabor del roble tostado”. Si las Naciones Unidas alguna vez quisieran adoptar una cerveza para representar sus ideales, ¡nuestra Sticke Imperial sería una candidata ideal.

(Versión completa en edición impresa)

First a confession: When I received the invitation to travel from my home in West Newbury, Massachusetts, USA, to Santiago de Chile to be a judge at the Copa Cervezas de América 2012, it took me only a few minutes to make up my mind. I quickly rearranged my calendar and emailed back: “Yes!” I travel to Europe a lot, but I had never been further south in the New World than Costa Rica; so I figured visiting Chile would be an exciting experience…and it was, both professionally and personally!

What do you say about a country, where everybody is so laid back and exceptionally friendly? My Spanish, which I have not used for decades, had become rusty and clumsy, but it did not seem to matter. Wherever I went, I was greeted with a smile and, in the end, we all understood each other. The hospitality started already on day one, after my long overnight flight from Boston via Atlanta to Santiago. There was no time for being tired, because a party at the residence of Rodrigo Infante, President of the Copa and Editor of Alma Cerveza, had been arranged for all the judges. Rodrigo’s paella was divine; the beers and wines, spectacular; and the company, stimulating and charming…a perfect evening. I hadn’t been in the country for more than a dozen hours and I had already made more than a dozen new friends!

The following morning, now well rested, all the beer judges were packed into a van and transported to Cerveceria Szot for a project that we had cooked up weeks in advance…the world’s most international collaboration brew ever. We had agreed to brew a beer of classic origins that could be replicated throughout the world even though it had perhaps never been made before: We came up with an “Imperial Sticke.” A Sticke is simply a strong, Bock-like version of an Altbier, an ancient German ale, which happens to be the signature brew of my home town of Düsseldorf, Germany. We “imperialized” that rare and classic beer style by turning it into an innovative, super-strong, heavily hopped adaptation of the original—mashed entirely with Chilean malt from Maltexco; seasoned with a combination of American, English, and German hops; brewed in Chile by expert beer judges from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States; and matured in the fermenter on French medium-toast oak chips! The malt was sponsored by Maltexco; the hops, by Brewers Supply Group of the United States; and the yeast, by Fermentis/LeSaffre of France! The finished brew, according to Kevin Szot, owner of Cerveceria Szot, “nicely combined the hop bitterness, the chocolaty-malty sweetness, and the toasted oak flavors.” Now, if the United Nations ever want to adopt a beer to represent its ideals, our Imperial Sticke would be an ideal candidate!

I had not come to Chile entirely for the fun, however! There was still judging to be done, and the next two days were serious business! Waiting for the jury were 325 beers from 21 countries, from the Americas and from Europe, for us to taste, to evaluate, and to rank…and to award 74 medals. The jury members were divided into four panels of four judges each. Each panel was assigned to different beer styles. Quiet and efficient servers poured us small samples of each beer into clean glasses, and then the important job of assessing and recording each beer’s characteristics began. The tastings were blind, that is, the bottles were covered in dark cloth bags so that we could not know which brands we were evaluating.

Especially for the Chilean brewers this must have been a moment of great trepidation…to go up against some of the most established breweries on earth! However, when all was said and done and it came time to give out the prizes in a grand evening gala, it became clear that Chilean beer can hold its own against the best in the world, because Chilean brewers walked away with the lion share of the medals, 21 in all! Cerveceria Nomade won a gold for its Indian Pale, as well as a silver for its Scotch Ale, and a bronze for its Blonde Ale, an achievement which earned it the title of Best Brewery of Chile 2012. The gold medal winning India by Mossto was the best Chilean beer in the competition. The breweries Rothammer, Kross, Copper, and Mestra also won medals. Brazil came in second in the country rankings, with 13 medals; followed by Mexico and Norway, with 7 each; Argentina, with 6; Colombia, with 5; Spain, with 3; and Belgium, Honduras, and the Netherlands, with 2 each. The competition’s best brewery overall was the Brazilian Cervejaria Bamberg; and the best beer overall was the Vixnu Imperial IPA, brewed by the Brazilian Cervejaria Colorado.

With the competition behind us, the judges were not done, however. There were still two days of presenting brew-technical seminars at the DUOC.  While my colleagues talked about such topics as yeast management, using American hops, aging beer in barrels, and pairing beer with cheese, I gave a presentation about the importance of classic beer styles for modern craft brewers. Somehow we were also able to squeeze into our busy schedule a visit to the Maltexco plant in Talagante. There we learned a great deal about Maltexco’s global markets and about Chilean barley with its relatively low protein content, which makes it ideal for brewing. Then came Saturday…and another adventure, when Claudio Miranda and Marjorie Osorio, the owners of Minicerveceria in Santiago took Steven Pauwels of Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and me to Valparaiso to crown off an eventful and unforgettable week with a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean, a visit to the house of Nobel Lauriat Pablo Neruda, and, in the evening, to an Irish pub!

Although the Copa has been in existence for only two years, it has already become South America’s most important professional beer competition, taking its place alongside such established international beer tournaments as the World Beer Cup, European Beer Star, Great American Beer Festival (GABF), Great British Beer Festival, and the Australian Beer Awards. The rapid growth of the Copa is the more remarkable, considering that Chile is a relatively young beer nation by international standards. However, just like in many other parts of the world, an infant but enthusiastic craft beer movement is underway in Chile, offering a wide variety of flavorful classic and innovative beer styles. If the Copa can put itself on the map in only two short years, there is no telling where the future will take it!

Thank you, Copa. Thank you, Chile. I will be back!