This week: Belo Sao Francisco Brazilian Dubbel
Just by coincidence, I ran into this beer while the 2016 Summer Olympics were being held in Brazil.
Not many people think of Brazil as a mecca of beer, but the country actually has a long history of quality brewing because of the many German immigrants who arrived in the country in the 1800s. Their immigration was not limited to the United States.
As one example, Brazil’s Xingu is an excellent German schwarzbier, or black beer, which is still not a common style.
Belo Sao Francisco was a very good beer, although it didn’t live up to its name. However, that may simply be a matter of how the brewery decided to market it. The label states that it is a “Brazilian dubbel.”
Just using the term “dubbel” usually denotes a Belgian origin, and there is a monk pictured on the label, which also is common with Belgian beers. But, Belo smelled like a German dark lager, with its aromas of fresh grain and dark malt, and a hint of sulfur in the background that is common with many German beers. It seemed to me that a German, not Belgian, type of yeast was used.
Using the term “dubbel” is not entirely incorrect, however, since it is a dark beer and has a nearly double alcohol content (7.5% ABV) than typical beers — two characteristics of the Belgian dubbel and German doppelbock styles.
What elevated Belo was the inclusion of raisins in the fermentation. This was well done, as the raisin flavor was noticeable, but not overpowering or obnoxious, and still allowed the malt flavors to come through.
Usually when I taste raisins in beer, it is in an English barleywine or an imperial stout, both strong beers. It was nice to taste the raisin flavor in a beer with a relatively lesser ABV.
I sampled this beer at the World of Beer in Appleton, Wis. I have written about this franchise before; it has about 60 locations nationwide that feature nearly 600 different beers, mostly in bottles, but about 50 or so on tap.
The World of Beer menu also showed a 12% ABV Petroleum imperial stout from the Cervejaria Wals brewery, but it was not available. I look forward to trying it. Wals beers are imported by Artisanal Imports of Austin, Texas; a list of distributors by state is here.
Many beers are available only regionally. Check the brewer's website, which often contains information on product availability by mail. Contact Todd Haefer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The (Appleton, Wis.) Post-Crescent