Can Chilean Craft Beer Make it in America?

If American beer drinkers most crave what’s new to them, then perhaps the next trend will be craft from foreign countries.

Guayacan%20StoutThink about it. How much international craft are we currently drinking? Beyond Belgium and the British Isles, where else do Americans think of for craft beer?

And yet, many countries have craft scenes as diverse as ours. Chile, for example. The South American country, better known for wine and pisco, is producing a great deal of interesting beers.

The growth in market there is similar to what’s fueled America’s micro boom. Modern drinkers, especially Millennials, seek variety. And this opportunity has been recognized by entrepreneurs (again, many Millennials) who have launched a new wave of microbreweries.

Like in America, this has produced diverse beer selection in Chile. Where before it was predominantly a summer drink, beer has now become a year-round beverage, explains Mauricio Banchieri, Trade Commissioner of Chile in New York.

Tasting Chile

I had opportunity to sample 21 brews at a Beers of Chile event yesterday at . The seven breweries featured were Guayacán, Szot, Royal Guard, Tübinger, Kunstmann, Rothhammer and Quimera.

My experience was similar to drinking much of craft from out of country.

The American palate has its understandings: IPAs are sharp, barleywines are thick, etcetera. When foreign recipes diverge, the taste can be confusing. Nearly all the Chilean beers were less intense, or a bit off in flavor, than the American recipes.

Which is not to knock the product. Of course, other countries produce different styles. How this will fit within the greater American palate is to be seen. With our thirst for variety, it could be exactly what we want.

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