Beers of the world: Skol

From: San Paolo, Brazil
Type: “Beer Style Pilsen”
Price: $2
Alc. Content: 5%

As I began my tour of beers from around the world, I was in a good mood. I went to Starbucks that evening with a friend and wrote almost a page of a paper I’ve been working on. If a page doesn’t seem like a lot to you, my guess is you haven’t been in grad school, ’cause I walked out of there feeling like I was Captain Productivity.

I got back home about 10 PM, and pulled out the first bottle from my shopping spree at Wine Warehouse, a Brazilian beer called Skol. This one seemed a little more accessible to a beer neophyte such as myself; it was relatively cheap, it had a screw top (there’s even a little logo of a bottle opener with a line through it on the back), and didn’t have insanely precise directions about how it should be served (as do many of the others). The label said it’s a “Beer Style Pilsen”, which I can’t find described anywhere, but after a little bit of poking around on Wikipedia I decided that “Beer Style Pilsen” is poorly-translated Portuguese for Pilsener.

Skol is a very light beer, like a good Pilsener should be. (Apparently, at least, according to Wikipedia.) It didn’t seem very “hoppy” to me, but I say that admitting that I don’t really know what hops taste like. I once smelled a vat of hops in the Coors brewery when I was 15 and I remember thinking that was the most horrible stench I ever encountered. So now I automatically associate hops with horrible taste, with little to no evidence to back up my claim. I’d probably deny the presence of hops in a good-tasting beer just on principle, which was probably what I was doing here. In fact, the label said that this was brewed with “rice choicest hops and best barley malt”. Hey, I don’t know what those are but they sound pretty good.

Skol is also unfiltered, which freaked me out a little as I poured it into the glass. But the cloudy appearance and the little bits floating around in the liquid didn’t affect the taste at all. This was a light, slightly sweet beer that tasted pretty good, if a little bland.

Beers of the world

Things are getting pretty hectic at work, so I’m going to have to postpone my ‘crystallopgraphy for dummies’ project for now. I’ll come back to it soon. For now, here’s that beer-related project I was talking about.

For my birthday, my friends Brantley and Sarah gave me a gift certificate to Wine Warehouse here in town. And at first I was conflicted. I do like wine, but I spend a lot of time alone and don’t live with big drinkers, so I don’t exactly go through the wine very fast. It even gets worse when the wines are especially expensive or of high quality, because I tend to save them for “special occasions”, which usually means “years from now”. I have a bottle of Chianti I brought back from Florence which will probably never be opened.

Perhaps noticing my hesitation over the gift of another bottle of wine I’d never open, Brantley made a point of telling me that they also had beer, which suddenly made their gift all the better. I do like beer, and unlike wine, I drink it regularly[1], because the smart people who make beer had the brilliant idea to put the stuff into single-serve containers.

The trouble is, despite the fact that I’ve claimed to be a beer snob, I am in reality a beer neophyte. Yes, while I do avoid the Buds, Miller Lites, and Pabst Blue Ribbons of the world, I find myself buying six-packs of the same few brands I’ve liked (Sam Adams, Corona, and Yuengling) over and over again. Furthermore, I don’t actually know anything about beer. I can’t tell a lager from a hole in the ground. And what the heck are “hops”, anyway?

Well, no more! It’s time for me to go out and explore the wider world. I went to Wine Warehouse and selected 11 bottles of beer and ale of all kinds from all over the world, and now I plan to drink each one and then write about them. So stay tuned, and watch the self-education of a beer connesieur in the making.

[1] At this point, I should note that there may be people out there, possibly related to me, who don’t know that I drink. So, um, I drink. Not a lot, mind you! But yes, John Wesley probably wouldn’t be happy with me. Sorry.