Saturday, 28 March 2020


I'm up much earlier than I would have liked. 7 AM. As the car taking me and Martyn to where we're talking is scheduled for 7:50. And I want to have time for brekkie.

Martyn trolls up a few minutes after me.

"I don't expect to see many judges at my talk. They'll all still be in bed. Pissheads."

"That's a bit harsh, Ron."

"Count how many turn up. You've more chance as you're on an hour later."

It's not best performance ever. A bit too early. And with too few - zero - beers inside me. As the location is a tent, being early has its advantages.

Chris arrives in time for Martyn's talk. The lazy bastard.

"Sorry, mate. I just couldn’t get up that early.”

Martyn hauls me up front at the end of his talk when he's asked a question about Porter and Stout grists. It is a bit of a specialist subject for me.

Back at the hotel, I say my goodbyes to Martyn and Chris. They're both heading home today, while I have another 24 hours in Blumenau.

I need some food. After my experience earlier in the week, I don't want to leave it too late. I head off at 12:15. In the lobby, I spot Chris.

"Fancy some lunch?"

"I'm not really hungry yet."

"What about a beer, then?"

"You could twist my arm."

"Where do you fancy going?"

"We could drink here. Get through that Helles they gave us."

"Sounds good."

Chris arranges some ice to cool the cans. And salt to hurry the process up. Glasses, too. The staff are very relaxed about us drinking our own booze. Especially as beer is on sale in the reception.

There are a bunch of Chileans heading for the same flight as Chris. And an Argentinian. Who seem to have spare beer. It's turning into another bottle share. We get three cans of Argentinian IPA, and two bottles of Chilean wine beer.

After a while, Martyn turns up. I'd expected him to be long gone, as he'd said he was getting the 1 PM bus. But he decided to go for the 4 PM one after all. He breaks out a couple of bottles, too.

"I need to get the weight of my bag down. It's 2 kg overweight."

I'm not complaining. I never complain about unexpected beer.

Stephen, who's been quietly working away in a corner, comes over. We give him some beer.

"I'm going for some lunch."

"Is it OK if I come along? I was planning on eating." I ask.


"Do you have anywhere in mind? Most of the places I can find on the internet are Italian."

"Splendore looks good."

"Hopefully it will still be open." I worry. It's just after 2 PM. Earlier in the week we had real trouble finding anywhere to eat at 3 PM.

Camillo tags along. He has a brewery and beer garden in the South of Chile.

The place is open - hurray! But empty. It's not so much a restaurant as an off-licence and butcher.

"It smells very meaty in here." I remark. Which it does. The good meaty goodness sort of meat smell. Not the rotty, pukey one.

The idea is that you select some meat from the butcher counter, then they barbecue it upstairs. Luckily Camillo, who can speak some Portuguese is there to help us out. We get four lumps of meat. And a bottle of Brazilian sparkling wine.

"It's what they do best in Brazil." Stephen assures me.

Having Camillo along is very handy. Without him ordering would have been much trickier. And mostly consisted of pointing.

The meat is amazing. Though the meal is pretty unbalanced - 100% meat. OK by me. I have sort of been sticking to a carb free diet since I've been here. It's exactly the sort of meal I'd been expecting here. Full of meaty goodness.

Once the sparkling wine is done, we grab ourselves beers from the offie cooler downstairs. My Double IPA matches very well with the beefiness of the, er, beef.

Jennifer, our very nice waitress, has been very helpful. We give her a good tip.

Back at our hotel, we've an hour in our rooms before the festival.

I arrange to meet Stephen and Camillo downstairs to walk to the fest. Camillo doesn't appear. Stephen sends him a message, but he doesn't respond.

"He's fallen asleep." Stephen remarks. "I had a doze for 15 minutes, but set an alarm."

We walk to the fest. It's only a mile or so. I need some exercise.

We wander around for a bit until Stephen has to go for an interview. We arrange to meet later at the Zapata stand.

I find myself a seat and have a sit down. Unlike some festivals, there's plenty of seating. I have a couple more beers. No sign of Stephen after an hour. And I'm starting to tire. Well, not starting. I'm well on the way to outright collapse. I use my last tokens then head outside to grab a Joe.

Before turning in, I go downstairs to get some water. Camillo appears. He's been asleep since this afternoon.

"Is the festival still on?" He asks.

"Yes. It finishes at 1 AM. But I'm off to bed." Which I am. After writing this. And after a quick Islay slumber-inducer.

EmpĂłrio Splendore
R. Humberto de Campos, 1091
Velha, Blumenau.


John said...

Good read as always, but it's a bit surreal reading about festivals and tastings ongoing while it seems like 2/3 of the world is in lockdown. A bit surprising, really. No corona cases down there yet?

Ron Pattinson said...


the events I'm writing about were two weeks ago. A different world back then, even though it was such a short time ago.

A Brew Rat said...

I second what John said. I enjoy your travel tales immensely. Even more than recipes for 1.032 beers with caramel coloring.

Hans U. de Jong said...

It’s like reading your favorite book while watching your favorite movie and having your favorite lunch in the meantime ( Hans U de Jong ), that’s me 😊

Hans U. de Jong said...

Reading your blogs as always feels like reading your favorite book while eating your favorite meal and and in the meantime having some beers , cheers đŸ»