Sunday, December 11, 2011
Chicha Is On!
For many beer geeks I am sure that you either knew about the Perivian Beer, Chicha, or honestly, like me, heard about it through the Brew Masters episode rightfully titled, Chicha. Without getting deep down into the history, Chicha was and is a traditional Inca fermented beverage/ beer made from corn. It is best to watch the above linked clip to understand what you are about to read. To back things up I just got back from Peru and as much as the Inca Trail and 15th Century ruins were the main focus, I have hard time telling anyone that for 5 days, Chicha finding was what Dooglas and I had our sites on.
Now we heard tales that Chicha is hard to find in the traditional method of the brewer still chewing the corn. I saw a couple corona grain mills at the Chicharias. I would like to think that one (we visited many) in particular was as authentic as they come. We spotted our first "red bag" in Pisac. Eager and hesitantly we made our way into the homestead, past the chickens and into a dark structure where Dooglas asked, "Ahh, con permiso. Es la Chicha?" Si. Si.
In a small room with just us, our Chicha brewer, one or two locals and a floor full of coy, we sat on a small wooden beach and were served in a 20 ounce glass room temperture Chicha straight out the pot. We tipped our glass and let Pachamama have to first sip. It was very earthy, grassy, tart and delicious. An ancient Beriler Weiss comes to mind. Delicious to say the least.
We went back and got more Chicha to go in our water bottles. We got Chicha in Ollantaytambo and we enjoyed a few even our our way up the Inca Trail (we were "those" people). Nothing compared to the experience of the taste. It was a craft beer personified and a greater spiritual awaking for me.
*Picture is a glass poured from a "to go" bottle brought to dinner.