Copo Cheio: Best IPA in Brazil is from a brewery in Santos; meet

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As in the Olympics, every gold medal in a beer contest carries the same weight in the overall picture, but some should be worth more than others.

Take the Brazilian Beer Contest, in Blumenau, for example. In early March, the event — the main award of the genre in the country — distributed 332 medals in 160 different styles. The champion was Alem Bier, beer inside a winery in Rio Grande do Sul that won ten medals, 4 of them gold.

However, the most desired medal of the night went to a brand from Santos, on the coast of São Paulo. Cervejaria Demonho won the coveted gold in the american india pale ale style with its Malignant Seed. To do so, it had to defeat 210 competitors who were in contention in the style — even Demonho entered 13 IPAs.

For comparison, Alem Bier won the gold in the brett beer style, in which only 13 labels competed for the award. Among the wild beer, which also won gold for Alem, there were also 13 competitors.

Victory in the category was a goal set by Eduardo Interlichia, owner and brewmaster of Demonho. “I always had this goal in mind. In fact, last year I determined to win gold in all the IPA categories I produce”, reveals Interlichia, who also won three other medals at the CBC in Blumenau: silver with the double IPA Shout of Hatred and with the juicy IPA The Dog Was Who Botou para Nóis Drink, and gold with the imperial stout Demonho Quer Chocolate.

In the world of craft breweries in Brazil, IPAs are the darlings of beginner brewers and consumers. With sharp bitterness and prominent aroma, India pale ale is normally the gateway to the market for the overwhelming majority of breweries.

On the label, Malignant Seed is described as a west coast india pale ale, with 7.4% alcohol and 65 IBU (bitterness scale that reaches 120). “The beer has intensity and balance. Very dry and round bitterness, with a very intense aroma and flavor of hops. The profile of Sabro and Talus [lúpulos americanos] also contributed a lot to give a personality to the aroma and flavor”, says Interlichia.

The history of Demonho began in 2014, still in homemade pots. In 2017, Interlichia began to participate in contests and only in February 2018 it officially entered the market. Today, production is still gypsy (it does not have its own factory), with a monthly volume between 3,000 and 5,000 liters. Demonho labels can be found in several bars of the genre in São Paulo, such as Empório Alto dos Pinheiros, Beer Rock Club (in Ipiranga) or in the Beer4U franchises in Santana or Vila Leopoldina.

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