Artesanal Cerveza in Chile (part one)

Seung and I are traveling through Chile with the intention of visiting as many breweries as possible in ten days and with the south end of the country off limits for us. I’ll try to post a few updates as we go. Our beer trek begins in Santiago.

Szot Beers

When he first visited, Kevin Szot was “amazed at how bad Chilean beer was.” A former CitiBank career-man, he decided to move to Santiago with his Chilean wife and four children after his son was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Chileans of the Pinochet era, he says, were quite proud of Crystal, the national beer brand which accounts for seven in ten beers–and most of the rest are just different brands from the same brewery, Cervezeras Chilenas Unidas. To combat the lack of diversity and full-flavored beers, Szot began brewing four ales and one steam-style lager at his eponymous microbrewery last December.

Kross beersLocated in a utilitarian industrial park on the outskirts of the city, Szot Microbrewery is one of the twenty or so small breweries in Chile. Kevin prefers to call his beers boutique, conjuring the sophistication of wine, rather than “artesanal” as the others are called. The term artesanal, he says, suggests the beers are amateurish, yet according to La Cave magazine, his Stout is the best beer in Chile.

Speaking of stouts, Kross brewing in Curacavi, produces a stout that won a silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards. Kross is run by Asbjorn Gerlach, a German who also immigrated with his Chilean wife. Asbjorn claims that he and his co-brewmaster are the only professionally trained brewers in the country – at least within the artesanal brewing scene.

AsbjornCuracavi is halfway between Santiago, the capital, and Valparaiso, a port town about an hour and a half away. It’s an ideal tourism spot, hopes Asbjorn. The setting is a lovely little valley farming community. The town also boasts a chocolatier of international quality, and several chicha producers. In other South American countries chicha usually refers to a corn-based beer, but here it is basically a rustic country wine fermented in giant clay pots and served fairly young. Between the brewery, the chocolate-maker and the charming grape-covered chicha shops, Curacavi is a fine tourism pit-stop indeed.

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14 Responses to Artesanal Cerveza in Chile (part one)

  1. Dave Bonta says:

    Cool. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Chile – now I have one more reason to go.

  2. beeractivist says:

    Dave – we visited Pablo Neruda’s house in Valparaiso yesterday and almost stayed in his hotel room in Temuco tonight but sadly the historic hotel where he stayed is now shuddered – literally, with shudders across the windows.

    Tim – you can count on it.

  3. David Edmeades says:

    What are the addresses of Szot’s and Kross? I’m moving to La Serena and I need to know I can get good beer, even if it’s a 5 hour drive away.

    Thanks!

  4. beeractivist says:

    David,

    Sorry, I don’t have addresses for you but here’s what I can tell you. Szot’s doesn’t have retail at the brewery but here’s his website: http://www.szot.cl/english2.html. Kross is located in Curacavi which is about an hour or so from Santiago on the main road going west toward Valparaiso. I bet you could ask anyone in Curacavi where it is and they’d know. It’s a very small town.

    Happy journeys,
    Chris

  5. el gato says:

    son unas putassss zorras
    de mierda
    jajajajajja

    • Dariel says:

      Just use your extract for your beer-wort and the sugar for bnotlitg. I would use all the yeast. When you get more experienced you should start making starter cultures for pitching your wort.**Nice job. How’s it going?I would say all the advise given is good. So try to apply it all in your next brews.

  6. David Edmeades says:

    Well, I made it to La Serena. I needn’t have worried about beer. The Jumbo here has a couple of Szot brews as well as a large selection of European and Canadian beers

    I had a Szot Amber Ale last night. Yum!

  7. Ellie Leezer says:

    Great blog, saved the website for interest to read more!

  8. Solange Tinnerello says:

    Szot is the best beer Chile has today!.

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