I spent the first week of my trip in Chile on the southern island of Chiloé, which is roughly 2/3rds of the way down the country, and the starting point for many the ferry journey south into the Patagonian fjords. It’s an island that draws many comparisons to the Pacific Northwest of the United States, or Scotland and Ireland if that’s what you’re more familiar with. We lucked out and had only two half-days of rain, and the rest of the time it was brilliant blue skies and crisp, cool weather, a lovely contrast to sticky summer in Santa Cruz. The island really only has tourism from December to February, and the real rush starts after New Year’s, so we hit the sweet spot in late December: everything was open and available without any of the crowds or rush.
Chiloé didn’t seem to have a glut of craft breweries, but there were certainly a few places that brew, and I was completely blown away by Ventus’ Golden Ale. It’s probably because I’ve been craving something notably hoppy (not bitter, mind you), and this was the beer to nail it.
Ventus English-style Golden Ale, 6.0% ABV at the Patrimonial Bar in Castro, Chiloé, Chile.
Appearance: Orange-amber with a small white head that gradually fades.
Aroma: Hops! Grapefruit and meyer lemons, and an orange or apricot marmelade.
Taste: First taste is the citrus and pine flavors of the hops and then a bold Vienna malt and biscuit flavors take over. Little tangible bitterness but well balanced nonetheless.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied.
Overall, it is oh so delicious! An immense surprise and by far the best Chilean beer I had while in the country. Understated in the packaging and description but an absolute winner. I’d drink this any day, and it deserves some attention.