Tuesday 14 March 2023

Ipanema beaching

I rise around eight. Not exactly refreshed. But at least feeling human.

A long flight, but only a short taxi hop, haven’t taken too much out of me. Not a bad kip helps, too.

I head down for brekkie around nine.  I can smell the bacon even before I get into the breakfast room. That’s a win. I accompany it with scrambled egg. And have some fruit for pudding. Mmm. Dead good mango. Properly ripe. The best I’ve had since I lived in Australia. More than 30 years ago.

 "Are you going to show us every single breakfast of the trip?" You might ask. Maybe. If you're lucky.

I laze around in my room for a while. Doing some writing. This stuff doesn’t write itself, you know. Plus, the bars on the beach don’t kick off until eleven.

I get there not long after. A friendly young man from shack 72 gets me a chair and umbrella. And a caipirinha, of course. It’s very pleasant in the shade, watching the beautiful and not so beautiful people bake themselves in the sun. While I do my best to keep every scrap my thin, pale skin as far away from it as possible.

I can’t think of many other large cities in the world with such nice beaches in the city centre. I’m really warming to Rio. And it isn’t just the sun.

The beach is a huge market. Sellers walk by every few seconds. “Eempenadas, eempenadas.” Rings out most often. Or the variation: “Empeneadas Argentinas”. It’s not just food and drink. Walking clothes racks float by.  While I just lie back in my seat. Sipping nonchalantly on my cocktail.

With the sun almost directly overhead, it’s a challenge to keep every scrap of my pasty skin shaded. Maybe I should have greased myself with sunscreen this morning. Shouldn’t be a problem. Barely a ray has brushed my skin.

I get myself another caipirinha. And another. I call it a day at four and get my bill. Including seat and umbrella hire, it comes to 90 reals. Or a bit over 16 euros. The robbing bastards.

After recovering a bit back in my room, it’s getting on for four when I call up an Uber. Just in time for rush hour. We crawl around the lagoon at walking pace. It doesn’t really worry me. I have all the time in the world. And the delay has no influence on the price.

Where am I headed? Botafogo. An obvious choice. There’s a brewpub and a beer pub just two doors from each other. Easy peasy.

I begin at Hocus Pocus DNA, the beer pub. Thiggy diggy dig, thiggy diggy dig, thig thig, thig, thig dig. That’s how it goes, isn’t it? (One for my more mature readers there.) As Hocus Pocus seems to be a contract brewer, this is really a brewery taproom. As they only sell their own beers.

The session starts with

Interstellar IPA, 7% ABV, 19 reals

Not totally clear, but well short of sludge. Not bad. US hops, obviously. Quite drinkable.

Managed to get a weird patch of sunburn on my leg. I thought I kept it in the shade the whole time.

Quite a hole in the wall. But with 14 draught beers. It must be a quiet time as the staff are eating. I’m the only customer. Not that it bothers me. I hate crowds. Well, people, really. They are where all the bad things start.

Oh look – they sell mate. I must remember not to order one. 14 draughts, but nothing dark. Mostly IPA and Lager, with one sour beer. It’s just like being in the US.

I’m starting to feel quite at home in Brazil. It isn’t really scary at all. Rio is dead cool. My almost total lack of Portuguese isn’t a problem, either.

Time to move up in strength.

Infinite Boredom West Coast DIPA 9% ABV, 24 reals
Cloudy again. Loads of citrus hops again. Which is OK. A bit more Izally than the first one. It must have one of the trendy hops in it.

The prices are for what looks like a half US pint. (On reflection, probably 330 ml.) At almost 4 euros, that’s not far off Amsterdam prices.

I’m starting to tire a bit, yawning like a hippo at bedtime. Time to take the long walk to Overhop Brewpub.

I sit outside, giving me a good view of the street scene. It’s another hole in the wall, with shiny brewing stuff at the back. Which, given all the pipes and shit, looks like it really is in use.

Dead Men Tell no Tales, UK Triple IPA, 8.5% ABV, 17 reals for 330 ml
I didn’t notice the ABV, but it’s strong. (I added it on reviewing my photos) Very jammy. Not in the lucky sense. A bit weird.

I notice that they have one side-pull tap. How very trendy of them. Fashions seem to get around the beer world very quickly, nowadays.

Soul Rebel IPA, 6.5% ABV, 17 reals for 330 ml
This is better. A bit murky, but nothing too silly. A bit Izally, though not as bad as the last one.

I’m feeling a bit pissed. Which is surprising, given I’ve only had four caipirinhas and four beers over the day. Nothing to eat since breakfast, mind.

I get an uber back to my hotel. But don’t go in, as I see a supermarket on the corner. A good place to get some food. Cheese, ham and salami I get. And a couple of rolls. As I chew on them, I watch a few of episodes of Spirited.

While I get spirited myself with some somnolent Ardmore.

Hocus Pocus DNA
R. Dezenove de Fevereiro, 186
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro
RJ, 22280-030, Brazil

OverHop Brewpub
R. Dezenove de Fevereiro, 190
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro
RJ, 22280-030.

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