Let's Talk Chopp

June 2009

One treat that I always enjoy when in Brazil is the beer. With the strong German influences in the Brazilian beer market, one need not look far to find world-class beer.

One beer that I particularly enjoy is the chopp.

Chopp (pronounced SCHWAHpee) is not a brand of beer, but rather a brewing process. Chopp is not pasteurized, so the purity and integrity of the brew is preserved. The end-product is a clean, full-tasting, crisp brew that doesn't fill you. And for the Brazilians, there's only one way to order chopp:

"Estupidamente gelada, porfavor." Stupidly cold, please.

Because chopp is not pasteurized, extra care must be taken in the handling and storage. Chopp cannot be canned or bottled, but rather served only on tap, fresh - and the temperature must hover no more than a hair above freezing.

The chopp taps, called chopeiras, are super-chilled and with the humidity in the air, condensation forms on the taps, becoming imposing blocks of ice that beckon thirsty passersby.