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Day 98 - How to drink like a Brazilian

BRAZIL | Wednesday, 25 April 2007 | Views [1591]

A beer drinker really only needs to understand two words of Portugese to travel well in Brazil: chopp and cerveja. Understand those two words and you can tell a waiter "Beer me, Dude!" anywhere in the country.

If you look up "beer" in a Portugese-English dictionary, it will probably tell you "cerveja". Technically, that's correct. Cerveja is beer. But in Brazil, people use the word "cerveja" to refer only to bottled or canned beer. Draft beer, which is far more popular than bottled beer in most places, is called chopp (pronounced SHOW-pee).

Almost every place in the country serves chopp --- including some places you might not expect, like at least half of those little beach-side cabanas strung along the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. Draft beer at a beachside snack bar? I'll drink to that!

When it comes to bottled beer, you'll get a longneck mostly in better restaurants, and you'll get a 350ml can mostly in places like poolside or beachside bars. (Though of course you can buy them in supermarkets too). In most restaurants and bars in Brazil, the most popular way to serve cerveja is in a big 1-litre bottle called a garrafa. 

Going out drinking with a group of Brazilians is a hoot...especially if you're buying. Proper etiquette demands ordering communal garrafas to be shared among all at the table. The waiter will bring out small glasses for everyone (a little bigger than a juice glass, but not by much). The garrafa will be chilled ice cold (bem gelada) and served in an insulated plastic jacket (in Argentina these are called beer condoms because they cover the beer like that.....) The crux of drinking etiquette is to remember that, while any garrafa on the table is community property, before you fill your glass, you always make sure that the person who is buying gets his glass topped off first --- then its okay to drink the rest of their beer!

Tonight, being my last night in São Paulo with my mates - Bia, Aline and Raph - we went out and drank Chopp till our hearts content. The bar/restaurant we went to was excellent - you dont need to order beers, the waiter just bring round trays of chopp and replaces your empty glass on the table so there is no need to be thirsty! 

Have I said before that I love Brazil???? Signing off with a chopp in one hand...


mmmm.......Brazilian beer.

mmmm.......Brazilian beer.

Tags: Party time

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