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Brewed by The Quechua People
Style: Traditional Ale
, Peru


on tap


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RATINGS: 9   MEAN: 2.78/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.82/5   ABV: -
Editor’s Note: This is a RateBeer True Traditional that allows you to enter a rating from any traditionally fermented chicha found in southern Peru, in the Cochabamba region of Bolivia (all the way to Totora) and in the Otavalo region of Ecuador.

There are commercial soft drinks calling themselves chicha, but they are not rateable here. Only traditional chicha, please.

Traditional chicha will be served in residential homes as marked by a red or white flag (or tied up red bag) on the household. The chicha will usually be cloudy from hazy straw to opaque gray with low to medium foam. The taste will be funky and tart as it is an openly fermented beer. This is allowed to be rated because it is a traditional ale that is by its very tradition, not commercially bottled. In other words, the traditional serving method for this traditional ale is informal in rural households.

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Most RecentTicked By

loscovar (817) - Principality of SEALAND, - JUL 1, 2017
I worked for over a year in NGO in Peru and Bolivia so i tasted many of them. I even had the opportunity to be a judge during a chicha tasting contest for the agricultural fair 2012 in Macha Bolivia. I had 12 samples to rate, all coming from the home production of the sourrounding villages. Made by the womens, called cholitas, they carried it in some paint buckets and served it in the traditional "toro", a hand made wooden bowl with a bull on it. After trowing a bit of chica on the floor as an offer to the Pachamama, i was able to tell that every chicha taste quite different, but they all look like muddy water, they smell and taste the unfinished fermentation.Others factors are variables. Winner was doña Yesenia. Cannot say it’s a good beer, i would not buy it in here if it were available, but it’s really interesting to know how beer was in the early steps of his developpment. A must try.

MartinT (10155) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 27, 2016
My Bottom Line:
Citrusy and lactic acidity meets mealy white corn in this refreshing, otherworldly brew.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-There is rarely any foam atop the opaque whitish yellow.
-The fruitiness is really surprising considering that this is 100% wilkaparu, chuspillo or jora corn. Needless to say, this is not the kind of corn we are used to in the Western World.
-Drinkability is very high. Light alcohol, tartness and fruit character will do that to a beer.
-Obviously, quality varies from place to place with this type of traditional, homemade brew. The points I gave are just an indicator of an average quality I encountered when touring Totora, Epizana, and other villages in the region outside Cochabamba.

From various traditional chicherias in Bolivia.

Iphonephan (7472) - Jackson Hole/McLean, Virginia, USA - MAR 12, 2015
Tasted from a from a pitcher at the Ajha Wasi Inka Bar in Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of Peru. This was brewed in the traditional manner from dried sprouted corn, which is boiled, strained and fermented in a large covered pot. The fermentation is started from the remains of the prior batch, so the yeast strain is unique to each place. It pours a very murky yellow with a thick foamy white head. The aroma is strongly corn. The flavor is also of corn but with some feint sour notes. It is actually a pretty refreshing drink.

Lowenbrau (4799) - Asturias, SPAIN - JAN 29, 2014
No idea this could be rated. So why can´t i rate my homebrews?
Several samples in different Peruvian locations, 2011.
Poured from a big pitcher, more or less all of them where murky off white, viscous texture, low carbonated. Some more sour than ohers, funky, citrusy flavours were common, along with cornish/sweet ones. Very peculiar, but i feel sorry for the ancient Peruvians since they had no access to actual beer.

drsordr (2920) - Loveland, Ohio, USA - JAN 18, 2013
Had after hiking the Inca trail in Ollantaytambo. Served in 32 oz tumbler in a back kitchen with the locals. Looks like cloudy urine. My guide downed the entire thing in a few seconds but I had to drink slowly. Smells of corn with a sour note. Taste definitely like corn, but with some farmhouse funk. Definitely like nothing else I have had

GT (10017) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 8, 2012
Had chica a dozen or so times while traveling in Peru. The way to find the best chica is to be hiking or driving around rural villages in the mountainous areas around the Sacred Valley, Cusco, etc. There will be a red flag or red grocery bag wadded up onto a prominent wooden poll attached to a house that is clearly visible if chica is available. You are permitted to just walk up to the household and asking for chica. It could be just about anything taste wise, but will undoubtedly be an interesting experience. The millet/corn is chewed only to convert starch to sugar, then is boiled. Don’t worry about hygiene. Fermentation is open so expect lactic and Brettanomyces funk. I had a dozen or so varieties while traveling here. Best example I had was at a random house while hiking around Urubamba and Ollantaytambo in Sacred Valley. Her chica was served in a very large 16oz or perhaps 24oz glass tumber, opaque gray in color, with a foamy, weak head. Nose is very funky, lemon peel, soft Brett, saltwater, and rustic dough. Taste very raw, rustic, earthy with lemon sourness, saltwater, and a ton of sour mash/Berliner Weisse character. It was delicious, and easy to drink quickly being very low alcohol. Probably 3% abv maximum if not lower. Highly recommended that you seek the real stuff out. It is unlabeled, not for sale in stores, not bottled, and essentially homebrewed wild Berliner Weisse. If you have a dud, keep trying more. Eventually you’ll get a winner. Probably will taste like nothing you’ve had before, even as a seasoned beer nerd.

bitbucket (2166) - Kirkland, Washington, USA - MAY 12, 2009
I had a hell of a time finding a Chicharia until I learned about the sign: Look for the red plastic bag wrapped around the end of a stick that protrudes from the front of the establishment. In "the olden days" the custom in rural Peru was to hang red flowers on the end of a stick to proclaim that Chicha was available inside. The red plastic bags of today are effective, but not so picturesque.

Sampled a a Chicharia outside Cusco. Pours cloudy pale gold with a thin white head. Served in a large class, maybe 24oz? Aroma of raw corn, grass. Light body, no carbonation.Taste of raw corn, grass, lemon with a sour lemony finish.

In and around Cusco, strawberries and sugar are added to chicha to make frutillada. It is a cloudy pale pink and adds a sweet strawberry note to the Chicha. Probably not so manly, but a tastier than the plain version.

faroeviking (11331) - Chupando chellas es como ellas, FAROE ISLANDS - APR 17, 2009
I never knew that Chicha could also be rated here on RB but yes it is brewed and fermented. I have tasted lots and lots of chicha in Bolivia and Peru from chicharías and locals out in the country/mountains, took notes but just for my travel book. In Cuzco there are several chicharías. I think, according to my taste buds, that there are quite some different ones. There are basically two styles: young which is "mild" and sweet (not lagered long) and the mature, which is strong in both flavour and alcohol. In general the appearence is muddy milky grey looking at times with smaller particles floating around in them like. In Cuzco I had Chicha de Jora: Aroma is yeasty with maize and sugar, bit sour and strangely spiced. Thin in mouthfeel. The flavour is very different from any normal beer, cider, saker or mead. Yeasty, maize, somewhat sweet, spiced, bit sour and quite dusty in the finish.

Cletus (6368) - Connecticut, USA - JUL 13, 2008
Please note that these samples are traditionally fermented chicha. Not the commercially made soda that can be found throughout Peru.PET bottle samples made by some Chicherias near Cuzco. Pours a very murky muddy tan. Smells like sour milk, piss, corn, in sample 1, there was some hints of cinnamon. In sample 2, it was very acidic and citrussy tarte. The finish on both was almost sickly sweet/sour and tarte if that makes sense. Some of the elements commonly found in all beers made with wild yeast can be found, but in sample 1, I had a relatively palatable refreshing light beverage with a nip of alcohol and some nice cinnamon. In sample two, I had a beverage that was too tarte and acidic to be considered palatable or refreshing. I need to try more examples to get a better handle on just how much these traditional examples can vary, but this’ll have to do for now. This beverage seems to run the gambit on flavor depending on who makes it and what they add to it. There was a very bitter almost rubber aftertaste in both samples.

Sample 1: 3.2 Sample 2: 1.8

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