Day 365 – 31st December 2011

Well – we finally made it – the 31st December.

It has been a major effort (or slog more like it) but we have finally reached the end.

As we farewell 2011 and welcome in 2012 from the exotic location that is Cochabamba, Bolivia – I am sipping down on a Paceña Negra.

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A dark lager or bock – it is much like the pale lagers I have had in Bolivia – it has a large, altitude-assisted head, a plain tasting palate and short, dry finish. 

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Like a number of other bocks I have tried, the Paceña Negra had a yeasty aroma and a strong bitterness. Compared to the Taquina Negra, the Paceña Negra had a slightly better palate, with a sweet syrupy molasses flavour present once the initial estery & bitter flavours had subsided. I am not yet a fan of the bock style, but this feels like a decent representation. It’s solid without having any qualities to get you excited…  

And that’s it, that’s “The Year of Beer” done and dusted.

All the best. May your future be full of good beer.



Posted in Bock, December, International | 2 Comments

Day 364 – 30th December 2011

We have been in Bolivia for a week now. Here are some facts about this interesting country:

– Established :  6th August 1825

– Population : Approx. 10 million (depending on your source)

 – 28th Largest country in the world by area (1,091, 581 sq km) 

– Languages: Spanish, Quechua, (30%) Aymara (25%) 

– Currency: Boliviano (Approx 6.6 Bs to 1 $AUD)

– President: Evo Morales – 22 Jan 2006

– GDP per Person: Estimated $USD 4,800 (Ranked 155th in the World!). 

– Along with the much smaller nation of Surinam, Bolivia is the poorest nation in  the South America (or Latin America for that matter

– A land locked nation

– Shares Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the World and the largest lake in the South America – with Peru.

– Lowest point is 90m above sea level, highest point is 6,542 metres above sea level.

– “Location” (it was actually shot in Chile) of the recent James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”. It was also famously where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid spent their last days.

(Information courtesy of my old friend Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook).

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 Here are some observations about the Auténtica Cerveza Pilsen Premium Tropical:

– It is brewed by Compañia Cervecera Boliviana S.A.. Established in 2006, Compañia Cervecera Boliviana S.A (CCB) is the main competition to Cervecería Bolivana National S.A (the company that brews something like 94% of all beer in Bolivia). CCB has the significantly better website.

–  “Tropical” flavouring and labelling appears to be the latest fad with beers in Bolivia, a bit like the use of “Blondes” in the Australia beer market.

– That said, the Auténtica Cerveza Pilsen Premium Tropical does have “tropical” flavours – peach, pineapple and some citrus. It is a sweet fruity lager.

– The word “Pilsen” has used quite liberally, as Saazs hops have not been used. Nor does it have the bitterness or dryness of a classical Pilsner or Pilsener.

– It’s sweeter, smoother and less bitter than the Cervecería Bolivana National S.A (CBN) lagers I have here (ie. Pacena, Taquina). The sweetness in particular was quite noticeable.

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Posted in December, International, Lager, Pilsener (Bavarian), Pilsner | Leave a comment

Day 363 – 29th December 2011

My wife is finally coming good and felt up to having lunch out at a restaurant with our friends and some American missionaries/social developers/local business advocates, that they know. 

I am pretty sure I ordered a beer on the menu called Huari, the beer from the Bolivian town/city of Oruro. The beer I was served looked like this..

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A Huari should actually look like this:


So yeah, the Huari Pilsener and the Paceña Pilsener are  both owned by Cervecería Boliviana Nacional S.A and areessentially the same beerm hence why the ‘”Huari” I ordered was served as the “Paceña Pilsener”. Aside from a more stylish look, the Huari/Paceña Pilsener isn’t much different from the standard Paceña. Maybe at a stretch the Pilsener is a touch maltier in taste, but essentially it just a moderate bodied lager of good bitterness, but little other flavour. It’s crisp, it’s dry and has decent head, but the label is the most interesting thing about it.

Posted in December, International, Lager | Leave a comment

Day 362 – 28th December 2011


My wife still felt sick this morning, so today was another low-key day. She did start to feel a bit better in the afternoon, though we all went for a popular Bolivian afternoon meal – “Api and Pastel”. Api is sweetened purple corn drink with cloves in it and severed hot, with a pastel or pastry. It was great and I was glad my wife could finally get out of the house after being cooped up for the last 3 days.

Tonight my buddy and I drank the Erdinger Kristal. It’s a filtered wheat beer and without the hazy appearance and sediment that the other Erdinger beers have, it has a very lager-like character.  It maintains some great Weißbeer flavours with soft tropical fruit notes of peach, mangos and a little bit of citrus, but it has a dry palate and crisp finish. It’s a wonderfully refreshing beer but carries enough flavour complexity to make sure I don’t “leave” disappointed. I liked it. It would make an excellent introductory wheat beer.

Posted in December, German, Wheat Beer | Leave a comment

Day 361 – 27th December 2011

The last 24 hours or so have been pretty rough, with my wife contracting the worst bout of “gastro” I have ever seen. We had noticed symptoms yesterday morning, but had hoped a 5pm bedtime and a fistful of drugs would keep most of it at bay. This wasn’t to be the case, and we both had a horrid night sleep with visits to the bathroom occurring almost routinely on the hour. Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting hit her all at the same time and she was in danger of dehydrating. Having encountered this sort of problem with visitors numerous times in the past, our friends here in Bolivia are well acquainted with the local medical clinic and hospitals. In order to avoid a trip to the clinic my wife has been guzzling fluid & electrolytes like they are going out of style. Shes looks terrible pale and feels very weak, but it does appear that like the worst of it has passed this evening.

My day was spent alternating being playing nurse to my wife and playing with my buddies kids. My pal procured the missing parts to the trampoline in the morning, so the highlight of the afternoon was completing the construction of the aforementioned trampoline and then watching the pure joy on the faces of my buddies little girls as performed their first jumps.

In the interests of health I gave beer a miss today, but I drank the Taquina Cerveza Negra Especial a couple of days ago and so today is my opportunity to talk about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it and the one picture I could find on the ‘Net does look anything like the can I drank. It is  a stout, but as my buddy LJ would say, it tastes like a stout produced by someone who only knows how to make pale lagers – ie. it is unsophisticated and not particularly flavoursome. 

The Taquina Negra is a dry stout and typical of that style, it initially has a strong yeast taste. Further on there are some roasted coffee notes, and towards the back of the throat there is a light sweetness, but that is about it really. Moderate in body and providing a solid showing of bitterness, it is a rather uninspiring dark beer. I would choose the Taquina Export lager over the Negra Especial.

Posted in Dark Lager, December, International, Stout | Leave a comment

Day 360 – 26th December 2011


A pretty quiet day after a hectic first few days here.  The day was spent mostly pottering around at my buddies house, playing with his kids and trying to put up a trampoline that my friend’s parents-in-law had bought for the children. In Bolivia it often takes a few attempts for the desired outcome to be achieved, and appears to be the case with this trampoline. Some parts are missing, and so a visit to the store will be required tomorrow in for construction to proceed.

I drank Bolivia’s most popular beer today  – Paceña.

Brewed in the Bolivian capital La Paz, some 3,600 metres above sea level, Paceña is owned by Cervecería Boliviana Nacional S.A, the company that accounts for close to 80% of Bolivia’s beer market, most of which carries the Pacena name. As is the case in the most countries around the world, the most popular beer in Bolivia is a pretty standard tasting lager. It’s not awful, but I found it reasonably dull beer.  I enjoyed Cochabamba’s Taquina Export more, as I felt it had a fuller body.

Posted in December, International, Lager | Leave a comment

Day 359 – 25th December 2011

South America & USA Trip 1168The highlight of today’s Christmas activities in Bolivia – a 9kg Turkey!! Yes 9-freaking- kgs!! Our Christmas dinner party consisted of my wife and I, our two friends and their 4 kids, and another Australian couple who have recently moved to Cochabamba to work as missionaries. Ok – so that’s a total of 6 adults and 4 child for the 9Kg, but my mate’s wife is Vegetarian, and one of the children is still  being breast feed – so the final wash up is 5 adults and 3 little girl aged 4 and under.  We are gonna be eating turkey for a week!!

The beer highlight of the night was the Erdinger Weissbier, the classic style Erdinger beer. It was really, one of the best wheat beers I have had all year. Of course, it was a sweet tasting beer, but it wasn’t excessively so, nor was did it carry that overbearing wheat beer yeast taste. It was a fruity palate with a bready, (Christmas?!) pudding flavour at the back-end which was quite nice.


What I particularly liked about the Erdinger was that it was drier than many wheat beers, giving it a more refreshing feel and ensuring the sweetness does get out of hand. It also had a good level of bitterness which gave the beer a fantastically balanced mouthful. An excellent job all round.

Posted in December, German, Wheat Beer | Leave a comment