Imported From Brazil


I am not a big drinker but I do occasionally like to try new beers and other alcoholic drinks.  My favorite styles of drinks are dark beers, stouts, and whiskey.  I normally only buy a four or six pack when something new catches my eye.   Mylie wanted to go grab a bottle of Cabernet sauvignon, so we made our way to the local wine store.

I am not a fan of cabernet so as soon as we walked into the store we went our separate directions – Mylie to the cabernet section and me aimlessly roaming the store looking for something to catch my eye.  If you read the post, ‘Letting the Days Go by‘, you know how I feel about wine, so I headed to the beer/ale section of the store.

After about four minutes, I saw a four pack sitting on the bottom shelf, almost hidden from sight.  It was a simple bottle but something about it caught my attention.  There was a little tag at next to the price tag that read, ‘An opaque, full-bodied black lager with mild bitterness. Extravagant treacle and anise aromas. Rich and creamy, well balanced sweet notes and hints of tartness with exceptional mouthfeel, in two words: Black Silk.’

I was sold after reading that so I picked up a pack and made my way back over to Mylie.  As I approached her she was making her final selection and we made our way to the check out counter.

When we arrived home, Mylie and I had dinner and several hours got lost somewhere watching the Food Network. Then Mylie got up and began to pour herself a glass of the Cabernet she purchased earlier – this reminded me of my new purchase and I made my way to the refrigerator.

I poured myself a full glass of this black beer and after the first sip I became very interested in the history of the drink. The taste was smooth and flavorful and the name, Xingu, drew had such a intriguing mystery, so I looked it up online and this is what I found.

The search for XINGU Black Beer began in 1986 when Amazon, Inc. was founded in Vermont by five women to prevent the extinction of some of the world’s rarest styles of beer. Dissatisfied with the bland offerings from American brewers and with the imports not offering much diversion from that, the company hired beer historian Alan Eames to research and locate native prototypes of dark, rich beers from around the world.

The search began in Brazil where Eames insisted the best examples of black beer could be found. The earliest Western account of black beer brewed by the natives of the Amazon region dates to 1557. Many Amazon Indian tribes placed great spiritual significance on black beer as a beverage used in religious and social ceremonies. This primitive brewing was done with dark roasted corn or manioc root, fermentation being initiated by wild yeast.

Anne Latchis, President of Amazon, Inc. and Alan Eames traveled to Brazil looking for a black beer to import that would represent a unique style of beer from the two cultures of that country, the natives of the Amazon rain forest and the descendants of the European colonial settlers. The result of this effort is XINGU Black Beer.

The name XINGU (pronounced shin-goo’) is a tributary of the Amazon River which is home to the few surviving cultures and species of native Amazonian life threatened by dam sites, over-development and exploitation. The distinct diamond-shaped XINGU Black Beer label was painted by artist Eric Green depicting a map of the XINGU River region, bordered by anacondas, with a Txucahamei warrior and a caiman.

Since I have opened and finished a couple of bottles as I wrote this blog I should stop now so I can enjoy the rest of this fine drink and before I start drunk typing, you don’t want that… I lub you guys… oh no, it is starting.  🙂

  • jaxin1

    November 22, 2008

    Excellent! I remember having it at a Beer Festival in Boston a few years back. I also remember in my tipsy state trying to have the person at the booth teach me how to pronounce the name. 😀

    Thanks for reminding me of it.


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