Latin brews

Chile to host its first international beer competition

The Beer Championship of the Americas will bring together judges from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and the United States to judge beers from throughout Latin America.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011  
Artisan beers are on the up in Chile. (Photo:  Anders Adermark/Flickr) Artisan beers are on the up in Chile. (Photo: Anders Adermark/Flickr)

In the last five years, Chile’s premium artisan beer makers and a whole slew of microbrewers have popped up, catering to the increasingly sophisticated palate of the beer-drinking public.

English-style porters and ales have appeared alongside brews crafted using Latin American ingredients like quinoa and piñones (the pine nut-like product of the Araucaría tree). It’s only appropriate, then, that come September Chile will host the “Copa Cervezas de América” – the “Beer Championship of the Americas.”

From September 5-10, beer makers from throughout Latin America will assemble at the Technical Training Center of Santiago’s Universidad Católica. The first four days of the event will revolve around blind tastings by the panel of 13 judges from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and the United States.

Beers in the blind tasting will be judged without discussion amongst jury members and evaluated in five categories: flavor, aroma, appearance, “mouthfeel” and overall impression. The beers will be divided into more than 40 distinct categories, with gold, silver and bronze medal winners selected in each category, as well as in larger categories like Best American Microbrew, and Best Beer.

Designed to promote the developing industry for artisan beers in the Americas, the event will also feature visits to nearby breweries, as well as seminars and talks on beer production techniques and the industry in South America.

Santiago has become an important host to beer-related events, with large-scale beer tastings like the Oktoberfest, an event that attracted almost 80 beer-makers from around the country.

Growing visibility amongst consumers has already led to the increase in popularity for premium beers, which now constitute 20 percent of total beer sales in Chile, and 13 percent by volume. The Beer Championship is just the latest evidence that Chile’s beer industry is entering an exciting and creative period of growth.