Tuesday 24 March 2020

I’m free!

I rise late. I've a little time before 9:30, when I've arranged to Martyn in the breakfast room. In the 20 minutes I have, I start writing this.

I hit the breakfast room, as planned, at 9:30. Martyn is nowhere to be seen, so I join a bunch of friendly Brazilians, including one I judged the final Best of Show with. South Americans are such friendly people.

Martyn turns up after a while and starts searching the internet for a brewery or beer place for us to drop by in the afternoon. We wouldn't want to waste our unscheduled free day.

Stephen appears at 10:20.

"I thought breakfast would be over. It's supposed to finish at 10."

"That's a Brazilian 10, apparently." I reply.

Stephen plans spending the day working in the breakfast room. He has a deadline approaching.

I leave Martyn searching the web and return to my room. Where I write some more of this report.

Though I do nip out to buy a bottle of cachaça. (I can now finally remember the name.) It's an extortionate 2 euros for 910 ml. What a weird bottle size. I've also seen 510 ml bottles of water.

Martyn has found a bottle shop/bar in town which will be open.

"We just need to get to the river and follow that." He says.

After we leave the hotel, he says: "I think it's this way." He says pointing in exactly the wrong direction.

"I know the way to the river. Just follow me."

Best way is straight down the main drag. The advantage over following the river is that we're in the shade. I'm impressed at how few empty shops there are. Way higher occupation rate than many UK high streets.

Martyn is struggling with the map on his phone as he's lost his wifi connection.

"We could nip into Tunga for a quick beer." I suggest. "They'll have wifi there."

"Sounds like a good plan."

Inside, I order two chops. Which is what they call draught beer here. Tunga is called a choperia because they have draught beer. I'm guessing ot didn't use to be that common.

While we sip our draughts, Martyn tells me some of the stuff he's uncovered during his research into his new book on Porter. The bastard. I'd had plans for a Porter book until Martyn announced his. No point us duplicating stuff.

He tells some strange tales of the Guinness family and their scandals. What I like about Martyn's research is that it touches on material I ignore. Lots about the families and their internal wrangling. I wouldn't have the patience to untangle family tress the way he does. I feel more comfortable with numbers.

Just as we leave, we bump into Stephen Beaumont. Who, after a morning of work, is in search of lunch.

"Fancy coming with us to a bottle shop and bar?"

He doesn't take much persuading. After Martyn gets him in a headlock. Despite him being in search of food rather than beer.

Mestre-Cervejeiro is a cool little place, with an impressive array of bottled beer and four keg pumps. One of which is dispensing IPA, which we all get stuck into.

Martyn, who is perusing the bottle selection suddenly makes a little squeak of joy and grabs a couple of bottles from the shelf. When I get closer I see why: it's Courage Russian Stout.

"Are there any more bottles?"


The bastard. Not expecting much joy, I ask the bloke serving: "Do you have any more bottles?"

"No. But there may be one in the fridge."

Yeah, there is one. Jumpy, jumpy joy dance time.

I start looking at the shelves more diligently. Oh, look, there's a Double Brown Ale there. I can't pass up on that. What with my Whitbread Double Brown obsession.

After some sweating wandering in search of food, we land up at a food court. Everywhere else is closed, it seems.

Stephen opts for the North American classic of burger and chips. While Martyn gets a massive mixed grill - enough food for all three of us and a small village. I've sensibly stuck to sushi. Don't want anything too heavy. We're going out for dinner in a few hours.

Back at our hotel, I bang out some more words. These ones, in fact. I have to get this shit written otherwise it will never get done.

I drop down to the lobby at 7 PM. When the bus is due to leave for our evening meal. Which is back at Eisenbahn Bierhaus (again).

Pete Slosberg is already in the lobby and invites me to sit with him. Nice to have a chance to chat with a legend of the early US craft scene. After a few minutes, Martyn joins us.

This is what these trips are all about, for me. Meeting and chatting with interesting beer people. That we're here for several days just increases the opportunities for such interaction.

We continue chatting on the bus. Pete has some good stories about the early days of craft, San Francisco and beer in general. Martyn's not short of a tale or two, either.

Most of the seats have been removed. I realise why: there's a band playing. To accompany the buffet. That we sit as far away as possible is no reflection on their musical skills. Just that they're rather loud. I want to talk. And we're boring old bastards.

At least we don't have to go to the bar. A waiter keeps coming around with a jug and refills our glasses. Saves a whole load of hassle.

We don’t stay too late. My throat is getting sore from having to shout.

A really enjoyable evening. If only the band been half as loud.

I self-medicate my achy, achy throat with a little Bowmore. Before sleep crawls under the door.

Tunga Choperia

R. Quinze de Novembro, 1020,
Centro, Blumenau

R. Curt Hering, 33
Centro, Blumenau.

Eisenbahn Bierhaus

R. Alberto Stein, 199.
Setor 4 - Velha, Blumenau

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