Now more than ever, we appreciate the magic of bringing people together. It’s the reason we brew our beers and pour our heart and soul into every sip. Beer is also a celebration of local ingredients and that’s never been truer for our brewers at Cervejaria Colorado who won ‘Best in Show’ at the 2020 Brazilian Beer Festival (Festival Brasileiro da Cerveja) earlier this year.
To learn more, we caught up with their head brewer, Pedro Pedrosa, who gave us the inside story on their award-winning brew - Guanabara British Imperial Stout.
Looking back, what was the best part of the festival?
The moment when anxiety becomes a medal! First we were named the second best brewery of the competition. When we stood on stage in front of the best brewers in Brazil, the feeling was incredible. But it didn't end there – moments later we were named the best beer of the competition. All I could think about was all of our colleagues who work so hard at Cervejaria Colorado every day…it was amazing.
Festival Brasileiro da Cerveja is the largest beer competition in Latin America. How does your team prepare?
We choose our categories after looking back on our registration history, medals already won and judge’s feedback. We submit some our regularly produced beers, as well as a few special beers that we make at our pilot plant on a smaller scale.
What ingredients do you use at Cervejaria Colorado?
We work exclusively with ingredients native to Brazil. We use local fruits and spices, and Guanabara is a great example of this: it’s a British Imperial Stout with burnt rapadura (unrefined cane sugar) aged in umburana (a wood native to Brazil) barrels that previously contained cachaça (a Brazilian liquor).
What do your brewers care about most when developing a new beer?
We want to provide new experiences through new beers and to open consumers' minds to new styles and flavors. As one of the largest craft breweries in the country, Cervejaria Colorado has a very important role, as we can reach many people and drive growth in the craft market in Brazil.
How has the brewery been impacted by the pandemic?
COVID-19 took hold in Brazil shortly after the festival and our production dropped dramatically. But we used that time to test some new recipes in our pilot plant. As a result, we’re launching three new beers in September! They are aged in certified Brazilian woods that create specific characteristics, unlike what you might experience with beer aged in oak. Putujumu wood, for example, gives the beer tutti frutti and strawberry notes, while Castanheira brings herbal notes, and Balsam creates strong menthol and licorice characteristics.
How important is beer to Brazilian culture – especially now?
Beer is always a reason for happiness, and this goes hand in hand with the people of Brazil. Historically the Brazilian consumer has always preferred light beers, like a pilsner. With the expansion and growth of the artisanal market, we see a growing wave of change in consumer tastes and interests. To be recognized at such an important contest, shows that our work is valued and this motivates us more and more to produce the best beers in the country!