Yes. The major Brazilian beers may be offensively devoid of character, and served estupidamente gelada (extremely, “stupidly” chilled) in the hopes you won’t notice, but drinking beer is an important Brazilian social event with lots of fun rules.
How should you choose what to drink? Since all of your options are terrible, the only important consideration is how classy you want to look while drinking this piss. Here’s the status scale, starting at the bottom:
1. Lata. The can. As sold by street vendors at outdoor concerts, during Carnival and at night in rowdy districts. When purchasing beer in such a situation, Brazilians feel the can before paying and if it’s not deemed cold enough, they refuse the purchase.
2. Latão. The big can, a slight step up.
3. Chope. Draft beer. Unlike serious beer-drinking countries, where draft is often considered fresher and therefore better than bottles, Brazilians consider chope rather low on the beer scale.
4. Long neck. Pronounced, cutely, “longey necky”. Brazil is extremely class-conscious; a wealthy person could be caught drinking one of these and survive with dignity intact.
5. Litrão. Literally, the “big liter”. If you’re drinking this, you’re sharing with friends and you have a serious thirst.
6. Garrafa. The 600ml “bottle” is the most normal option. It’s big enough that you’re of course sharing it with friends, but not so big that it risks getting warm before you finish it. This brand, Antártica Original, is considered by many serious Brazilian beer drinkers to be the best. It’s not, it’s just as horrifyingly bland as the others, but you should order it if you want Brazilians to think that you share their “refined” tastes.
Frequently, your garrafa will be served wearing a camisinha (“condom”), a plastic piece of insulation that helps keep it “stupidly” frigid. To properly operate a garrafa, check out our next post.