I’m awoken at 1 AM by a massive thunderstorm. Lightning crackles across the sky. Rain throws itself furiously down as slip back into sleep. Soothed by the white noise of the storm.
I rise properly just before 9:00. And trail downstairs for my standard breakfast. Scrambled egg and bacon for main, fresh fruit for pudding. After a while I’m joined by Jos Brouwer.
Before going back to my room, I have a quick chat with Claire and Tim.
“What are your plans for today?” Tim asks.
“None at all.”
“I was planning on having some lunch.”
“Sounds good to me.”
We meet in reception at one. Stephen Beaumont comes along, too. Seu Porco (Your Pork) is our destination. Which even I can work out is a specialist pork restaurant.
It’s not far. Just a short walk, which suits me.
We struggle somewhat with the menu. As the translation apps aren’t coping well. We all end up ordering roast pork. Which turns out not to be quite what I expected. It comes with rice, black beans and something I think might be potato, but is some other form of starch. It wouldn’t be a Brazilian meal without two types of carb.
I start with a Cerveja Blumenau IPA. Then switch to that most reliable of drinks: caipirinha.
We chat about many things. International relations, Jeremy Clarkson, the challenges of Brexit and why sludge beer is crap. Other things, too. But my brain goes a bit mushy after the third caipirinha.
The décor is a bit weird. Human figures with pigs’ heads. “It’s like the name isn’t ‘Your Pork’ but ‘You’re Pork’.” I joke feebly.
When we’ve stuffed as much of the food mountain into our gobs as we can manage, we decant to E-10. A serve-yourself place. It’s a juicy Double IPA for me. A favourite style of mine. Not really. But it has a price/ABV ratio I find attractive.
E-10’s unique selling point is that it doesn’t close. Opening 24 hours a day. It would be even better if they sold caipirinhas. Can’t have everything, I suppose.
I start off with Swamp Grassroots Imperial IPA, at a modest 7.5% ABV. It’s OK. So I pour myself a larger one the second time.
The others have to leave quite soon. Tim to fly home, Stephen for his talk at the conference. Will I be going to the conference/beer festival? I don’t think so. Yesterday more than scratched that itch. It tore off the scab and left a bloody mess. I’m really not into torturing myself for no reason.
I’ve another excuse to stay put. All the credit on the fobs. I unwisely put 100 reals on mine. And Stephen gave me his. Lots of beer still to get through. Not going to waste credit, am I? That would be like throwing beer away. Which is against my principles.
Carolina, with whom I judged yesterday, turns up with her boyfriend. We have a good chat about beer culture and the importance of emotional attachment to beer. At least for me. And the fun of judging together.
That comes up. In retrospect, it was good fun. It may have dragged on for longer than I would have liked, but we had some good discussions. And I appreciated her very different perspective. Perhaps I should have told her that more openly. Simone’s views were similarly divergent from mine. Considered and with his own specific take from an Italian standpoint.
This is why judging with a diverse group Is so important. Balancing different cultural viewpoints. It’s not something I’d get if my fellow judges were all English.
Next is Locomotive/Se Val Sobrenatural Juicy IPA, 6.5% ABV. I know. Sludge filth. I can’t even blame it on a mistake. It’s clearly labelled “sludge filth”. Weirdly, they have Hoegaarden from one of the ten taps. Wonder where that’s brewed?
Then rain starts. The type you only get in tropical climates. Not too much a spattering as a splattering. Another good reason for me to stay put. Despite the hotel only being 200 metres away, I consider getting an Uber. But that would just be silly. And I still have credit on my fob to use up. Stephen’s, too.
I save the Imperial Stout until last. Salvador Cookie de Chocolate. I’m shocked that it’s rather sweet. No. Not really. The name is a bit of a clue. Nice enough. But I wouldn’t want to drink four pints of it.
When the rain has declined from a horse torrent to an old man trickle, I venture out. Stopping only to buy some weird stuffed bun thing in the petrol station opposite the hotel. It’s not very appetising. Even warmed up.
I debate with myself: should I venture to the hotel bar for a caipirinha? Being strong, I told myself: no. But now I write about it, the thought is more tempting. Hang on, I’ll just put my shoes on. For one last lovely cocktail.
I’ll tell you in a minute how it went.
The restaurant is closed. As I head back to the lift, Stephen is just getting out.
“They’re closed.“ I tell him.
“I’ll have to find somewhere else to eat.”
I only wanted a caipirinha. And I still have enough rum in my room to knock me out.
R. Floriano Peixoto, 55
E-10 Tap House
R. Curt Hering, 33
Disclosure: Concorso Brasiliero de Cervejas paid for my hotel during the judging as well as for some food and drink.