THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Xingu and Kibbie! Rio Meets Beirut!

by Harvey Gold on January 10, 2012

I originally tasted Xingu Black Beer at a Brazilian Tapas restaurant a year or so ago. This was earlier in my discovery period and I found it to be unique and interesting, mainly based on my prior experience with dark and black brews as big ales and stouts, certainly not lighter weighted lagers.

When shopping over the holidays I thought it would be interesting to revisit Xingu and picked up a bottle, opting to open  it for a Tapas like meal from our favorite middle eastern restaurant, Aladdin’s.

We had their wonderful Kibbie appetizer. Three crisp on the outside, meaty, nutty and moist on the inside nuggets of wonderfulness were served with plain neutral yogurt we use for dipping/dolloping, and a small refreshing cucumber and tomato salad, Lebanese Salata.

We then shared quarters of  a pita pizza, named after the establishment. Tasty and tender grilled chicken, crispy fresh diced scallions, and julienne green peppers with a garlic honey mustard mixture that makes me salivate as I write this.

So there was salty, sweet, savory, and all sorts of textures at play here.

The Xingu was, indeed, black with a bit of a reddish hue when put up to the light. Not much of a head or nose to speak of, yet everything about it in this context was fine, if not spectacular in any real sense.

The one thing striking me from the first sip, however, was some sort of flavor that I couldn’t identify. Not grassy in the customary use of the word, but sort of a not unpleasant raw grain or grass semi-funk was present in every sip. It was reminiscent of a Munich Schwartzbier with this odd and unique flavor suggestion that I’ve only experienced, thus far, in Dunkels. In this case, not something I’d seek out –  though I probably will until I can put a proper finger on this taste – yet with a lower (4.5%) ABV, it was actually kind of nice finding this distinguishing character. So as it quenched and refreshed, it also contributed something unique to the overall experience… a worthwhile revisit.

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