Chile is wine country, with relatively few craft breweries despite beer consumption contributing to 60% of the overall alcohol market. But Chile’s craft scene has been expanding in recent years, and Quimera is one of the newer breweries to emerge from the growing interest in craft beer, and the first Chilean beer imported to the U.S. Manifested in 2006 in Santiago by four beer aficionados, Quimera had its humble origins in a kitchen before it transitioned into its current state of mass production. They chose their name, translating to “Chimera” from Spanish, to parallel the synergistic amalgamation of common ingredients infused together to create something mysterious, fierce and exciting.
Trouble arose in the factory when Quimera first saw its inception, with batches turning out underwhelming in taste, mouthfeel and carbonation. The tribulation “left many wounded on the road,” according to Quimera. Eventually, the beast was conquered and the brew began to submit to the brewmasters’ intents, becoming the product we have before us today. We’ll be sampling two of Quimera’s four options: their Amber Ale and Imperial Stout, which were surprisingly fresh given that they traveled over 5,000 miles to get to our humble backyard picnic table.
A velvety fusion of sweet and dry, Quimera's Amber Ale pours a mahogany deep red, displaying fun carbonation and a super fluffy head that recedes slowly to form a milky, thin layer on top. Wild aromas waft up: hints of hay, a freshly cut field, wildflowers, and creamy sweetness. Sweet up front and dry on the finish, the middle is smooth and creamy, exhibiting a milky sweetness.
Quimera’s beers must have a penchant for ultra-fluffy, creamy heads, because their Imperial Stout is no exception. Pouring a brownish-black, a cumulus-fluffy tan head arises from the darkness, creating quite the inviting appearance. Boozy raisins linger in the aroma, with a noticeable presence of malted milk balls and cocoa powder. A sip confirms what the smell lasciviously suggests: malted milk balls, roasted chocolate coffee, and a silky, creamy body envelop the palate.
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