I ran across João Gabriel Reis on Instagram when I noticed this guy was hitting up a bunch of SoCal breweries in a short amount of time. His account name, BeerBasedLife, gave me a pretty good idea of what his passion was and so I reached to find out why a Braziliaain based beer lover traveled to the US specifically for beer. This is what I learned:
TRP: Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. OR in a haiku
JGR: A young and easy going guy from Rio, Brazil, who is passionate about the craft beer world and is really focused on making a dream come true.
TRP: If beer drinking was your “job” what title would you give yourself? If beer drinking is your job, tell us more!
JGR: In my mind, beer is not my job YET. I’m desperately looking forward to be working with it in a very short time from now.
I’ve been tasting different beers from all around the world since I was eighteen (legal age in Brazil). Then somehow I entered in the craft beer movement. And then, all of a sudden, I was homebrewing my own beers with a couple of friends.
We’ve been homebrewing for a while now and we decided to take this seriously and make it become our jobs. I quit my job on the beginning of this year and started putting all up together so we can start our own craft brewery based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
That being sad, I can say that I sort of work with beer already. Although, when the things start for real, I see my self not only being one of the owners, but also brewing our beers.
TRP: What was your first craft beer memory?
JGR: Honestly, I don’t remember my first craft beer memory, but I’m very sure it was when I was still not legally able to drink and that it was a brazilian craft beer.
Other than that, I remember very well when craft beer changed my life completely. I was spending a semester in London studying finance. Every week I used to go to a shop in a street market which sells beers from all around the world, mainly craft beers. I used to take 10-12 bottles to drink during that week.
I started noticing those beers were different from each others and, more importantly, much more tasteful than the mainstreams and fizzy yellow ones.
Not very long later, I saw myself studying about craft beer. And when I returned to Brazil I started the homebrewing thing. Later I gave (up) about finance. That was how craft beer changed my mind and life.
TRP: How did you get involved in the craft beer industry?
JGR: After living in London and experiencing that different culture related to beer, and then started homebrewing back in Brazil, things have changed in my head and started being all about beer.
It was when I started focusing on craft beer more than any other thing, decided that I needed to learn more about it and decided that it should be a more significantly part of my life, professionally work with it.
So, now I’m involved in the industry as an amateur and consumer. I have a dream/goal to involve myself commercially and professionally as soon as it is possible.
TRP: How would you define “beer travel”?
JGR: In this kind of trip the beer is what you’re aiming. It probably sounds strange for someone who only drinks fizzy yellow beers and doesn’t know what a craft beer is. They would call you crazy to travel only to drink beer.
But it is all about culture as well, meeting people with the same passion as yours, drinking good local beer and eating good local food. Also for those who are even more passionate is a way to learn and exchange information and ideas.
When you travel to know a place you’re going there because the touristic attractions cannot come all the way towards you, so you have to go yourself to meet them.
Same thing happens to craft beer. The good and unique beers are not exported worldwide. So if you want to drink it, you will need to travel all the way to its source to be able to meet it. And as result to that you will be drinking it fresh.
To sum up, it is an amazing cultural experience with good friends to be made.
TRP: Tell us about the brewery you are opening in Brazil
JGR: When I saw myself very into the craft beer movement I thought I should (do) something more about it. So we, two friends and I, decided do start the 3Cariocas brewery, our own craft brewery.
The three of us being young and having many ideas on mind helped us developing a daring mission. That mission is to transform how people see, hear, think and, mainly, drink beer in Brazil.
Transform our love in beer into tastier moments, into more fraternal friendships, more relaxed meetings. Revolutionize peoples’ experiences and break paradigms. Our goal is to be acknowledged both domestically and internationally as the most innovative craft brewer in Brazil, delighting locals and all those passionate about our way of being.
Our forecast is to start commercializing yet in the first semester of 2014 and before the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the country. Right now we are dealing with the papers, like licenses and so on.
We are going to be based in Rio de Janeiro city. The whole idea of our brand comes from the city, mainly, from lifestyle from it. We even care “Cariocas” in our name, which means in Portuguese, someone who was born in Rio.
TRP: You recently made a beer trip to California for research for your brewery. Why California and what were you hoping to learn form your visits?
JGR: I’ve been reading a lot about craft beer, all kinds of stuff, and even the history about it. So, one of the things I’ve first learned when I started was that the US was the big daddy of this whole movement and that California was the birth place of it.
Our first idea for the beer trip was the whole west coast, starting in Washington state and going all the way south to California, passing through Oregon. But, very unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to do that. That’s why we focused on CA because of its huge background regarding that matter.
The main goals we were willing to accomplish in that trip were to do with how the craft breweries work and understand it (yeah – of course). What I mean by that is: understand the relationship between the breweries and the customers, why they go drink in the taprooms, why they drink that beer and what make them come back; get to know better some American styles of beer; and visit inside the breweries and see how they work inside and their layouts.
Summing up, we were there to see what to do and what not to do in our own brewery.
TRP: How many breweries did you end up visiting? How many days?
JGR: 20 breweries, 14 days, 213 different beers tasted:
- 21st Amendment Brewery
- Third Street Aleworks
- Bear Republic Brewing Co.
- Russian River Brewing Company
- North Coast Brewing Company
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
- Lagunitas Brewing Co.
- Highway 1 Brewing Company
- Molly Pitcher Brewing Company
- Firestone Walker Brewinc Co.
- Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
- The Brewhouse (California)
- Bootlegger’s Brewery
- The Bruery
- Stone Brewing Co.
- Barrel Harbor Brewing
- The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company
- AleSmith Brewing Company
- Ballast Point Brewing Company
- Green Flash Brewing Co.
TRP: What was your favorite brewery?
JGR: That is a very tough question. As for the beer I would say Russian River, Stone, AleSmith and Firestone Walker.
But we did have a really good time other breweries such as Green Flash, Barrel Harbor, Figueroa Mountain and Third Street Aleworks, where we made some friends as the staff was really receptive.
When we told them our story of opening our brewery in Brazil, they become more enthusiastic than us. They started asking us questions about the cenario in our country, the style of our brews and also thought us a lot. Taking us in a private ‘tour’ in their brewery showing everything how it worked and so on.
TRP: What did you take away from this trip?
JGR: Much learning, a lot of good friends, the tastiest beers I’ve tried so far and a great desire to go back and repeat it.
TRP: What benefits do you get from traveling for beer instead of drinking where you are from?
JGR: Drinking local. A huge thing of the craft beer world is to drink it locally, drink it as freshest as possible.
I mean, some of the beers I tasted in the trip we do get it imported here in Brazil, after a long journey inside containers traveling from a country to another. Definitely not the same thing.
Having the opportunity to drink them in the source, see the tanks that the beer comes from and drink it within a few days from the production it’s indescribable. You can really feel the beer and taste as you should.
TRP: What is on your beer travel wish list?
JGR: Belgium because of their tradition and endless awesome beers. Also want to see what is going on in the craft beer cenario in the Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Another one in Europe that is in my wishlist is Italy. In a country already well known for its wines, pairing their craft brews with their fresh local cuisine must be amazing. They have something very interesting there. And I would also like to see what is going on in New Zealand.
Where can we find more about you online? Twitter/Facebook/Website etc.
We have an Instagram account with more the 10k followers from all around the world were we post every beer we taste. It’s called Beer-based Life (@beerbasedlife). We are also on Facebook.
About our craft brewery that we are starting in Rio de Janeiro, we are on Facebook and Instagram as well.
The website is still under construction but it’s going to be under www.3cariocas.com.br address.