Brewing with a Tropical Flair

BYOB by | Jul 2015 | Issue #102

Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

My fellow Americans, it’s time we confess our prideful sin: we think highly of our brewing intentions. Everyone knows that here, homebrewers strive nobly to produce nothing but the finest, most daring, most interesting beers. In other countries, they brew just to get drunk cheaply. Heathens!

Well, having just returned from Florianópolis, Brazil, where I traveled with Denny Conn, Mike Tonsmiere and Scott Bickham to speak at the second Congresso Técnico ACervA Santa Catarina, I can safely disabuse us of this myth.

A large community of Germans settled this very southern state of Brazil, bringing with them the art of brewing. While AmBev dominates the commercial beer landscape, more and more micros are opening and homebrewers show promise. One brewery I visited produced the best American Red Ale I’ve had in a dog’s age, and despite the Reinheitsgebot’s influence, sour beers are becoming trendy.

Throw away your views about foreign homebrewers—the ones I met were incredibly passionate and knowledgeable. More than anything else, they’re hampered by the lack of ingredients. Where we suffer from a surfeit, they deal with a deficit. But more gear and grain is trickling into the country and they’re going to develop fast. They’ve already got a school for teaching homebrewers and commercial brewers side by side.

This month’s recipe is all about reliving my Brazilian journey—a little bit German, a little bit tropical and a lot of fun for the heat and humidity.

For 5.5 gallons at 1.051, 20 IBU, 3.0 SRM, 5.9% ABV

4.0 lb. Pilsner malt
4.0 lb. wheat malt
1.0 lb. flaked rice (or coarse manioc flour)
1.0 lb. cane sugar

Single Infusion at 154°F.

0.25 oz Magnum | 10.5% AA | 60 minutes
1.00 oz Equinox | 14.5% AA | (20 minutes whirlpool)

1/4 tsp cinnamon 0 minutes

Wyeast 1010 American Wheat or White Labs WLP320 American Hefeweizen

Ferment in the mid 60s for a balanced ester and phenol presence. Let the tropical flavors and aromas of the Equinox carry the nose.