Since I began this year-end awards, many people have asked about my criteria. To which I answer that I simply choose the breweries that have made the greatest impression on me during the year previous, for one reason or another.
In the case of Latin America, that brewery is Curitiba, Brazil’s Cervejas Bodebrown.
Now, I could say that Bodebrown’s impression was fostered by beers like the Wee Heavy, long a Brazilian favourite, or the Black Rye IPA, sampled during last year’s Mondial de la Bière, or the always intense and intimidating Perigosa, Brazil’s original double IPA. And frankly, I would be entirely justified in so doing.
But oddly enough, the beer wasn’t really what brought Bodebrown to mind when I thought about which Latin American breweries had the most impact in 2013. Rather, that role was played by the gadabout head of the brewery, Samuel Cavalcanti Cabral.
Not only was Samuel seemingly everywhere last year, introducing the world to not just Bodebrown beer, but Brazilian craft beer in general, but he also seemed to be front and centre every time a visiting brewer or beer notable showed up in his home country. In such fashion, he has positioned himself as a sort of ambassador of Brazilian beer, and it’s a role he fills quite admirably, supporting the efforts of his company, his brewing school, his hometown of Curitiba – fast becoming the capital of Brazilian craft beer, thanks again largely to Samuel – and his fellow Brazilian brewers.
For those efforts, and also for his fine beers, I am delighted to pick Cervejas Bodebrown as my Latin American Brewery of the Year for 2013.