Sunday, November 11, 2007

Xingu Black Lager

Another black lager that I picked up from Booze Bros. is the exotic Xingu (pronounced shin-goo). This beer certainly caught my eye when I was perusing the foreign beers in Booze Bros., so I had to snag it. It is a schwarzbier from Rio de Janeiro, and it takes its name from an Amazonian tributary (the Xingu River) and region that contains some of the most untainted cultures in the Amazon Rainforest.

The earliest Western account of Amazonian black beer can be traced back to 1557, where it was used by the natives in religious and social ceremonies. The beer itself was brewed using manioc root and dark roasted corn, fermented with wild yeasts, possibly like the lambics of Belgium. This incarnation of Amazonian schwarzbier was first brought to America in 1988, a result of five Vermont women who hired beer historian Alan Eames to find dark beers on the verge of extinction worldwide. (Five Women in Search of Good Beer, from Amazon Inc.)

Here are the stats:

Xingu Black Lager
BREWERY: Cervejaria Independente Ltda., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
FIRST BREWED: 1986? 1988?

I got this (limited) information from Five Women in Search of Good Beer. I hope an e-mail to the brewery or to EuroBrew, the American importers, will answer some more questions.

Like most dark beers, this one poured very dark almost black color with a slight tannish head. However, while the head wasn't that big, it still had staying power, lasting a really long time. The aroma just burst forth from the beer, smelling like dark chocolates with heavy fruit influences. The taste was, for the most part, indescribable. I was scratching my head throughout this tasting trying to describe the flavor. I think it was a carbonated grainy-fruit with maybe some slight nuttiness mixed in, but it was certainly very different from any beer I've ever had (including Old Peculier). And just as mysteriously as this beer's flavor arrived, it vanished into a slight grainy aftertaste that was welcomed into my mouth with opened taste buds.

This is a great beer for those looking to take a walk on the wild side. It's very different and enjoyable. I don't know the availability of this beer, but it's been around since 1988, so liquor stores will probably have it.



Anonymous said...

Xingu is one of my all-time favorite beers and this comming from a two bottle random purchase 20 years ago. The fukcing LCBO doesn't carry it nor does it carry Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout my other all time fav beer. Sell the LCBO!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your blog and must say I absolutely love Xingu! Tried it for the first time earlier this year, purchased from a corner convenience store with an unusually varied beer selection.