Chile, like everywhere, has its ubiquitous mass market lagers most commonly in the form of Cristal, Royal, and Escudo, and recently Kunstmann was purchased by one of those larger conglomerates. I would say that–lack of independent ownership aside–Kuntsmann plays a similar role to say, Boston Beer Co. in the United States. That is, while most restaurants are guaranteed to have some kind of mass market lager, most will also have one or two craft(y) beers available as well, and frequently it’s something like Sam Adams Lager or Blue Moon, which perhaps is the better comparison in terms of economics given its ownership status. However, Kuntsmann offers a range of beers more in line with Boston Beer Co. breadth, albeit with a heavily German focus.
Surprisingly, however, it’s their English-style Pale Ale that seems to be the most popular of their offerings, at least in terms of its availability across a very wide variety of restaurants, from the bistros in Santiago’s Bella Vista neighborhood, to the restaurant at the end of the road to Parque Nacional Chiloé.
Kuntsmann Torobayo (English) Pale Ale, 5%, at Kurantón Restaurant in Ancúd, Chiloe, Chile.
Appearance: amber, perfectly clear with a small off white head that sticks around
Aroma: generic ‘beer’, diacetyl?
Taste: malty with a caramel bent. Little hop presence but a dry finish. Nothing spectacular.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied with low carbonation.
An English style mild ale that was a fitting pairing to go with a heaping dish of Chiloe’s most traditional dish, curanto. Okay, if not the most interesting, but that’s probably a result of my American palette that is ill-disposed to subtlety. Glad I tried it, but probably won’t have it again unless it’s the only thing available. [Incidentally, I did have it again.]