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Poured the beer into the mate gourd and... I will repeat it with pleasure

2023-07-10
Poured the beer into the mate gourd and... I will repeat it with pleasure

A hot day full of excitement. After a well-worked Friday, it's good to relax. There's nothing like a freshly poured yerba mate in the afternoon sunshine. There's nothing like a cold, refreshing beer with a good “nibble”. What if you could combine these two great flavours? I had read that it was possible and I decided to give it a try.

Summary:

  1. An idea from South America: yerba mate cerveza
  2. Yerbeer – an experiment with yerba mate
  3. Yerba mate cerveza light version
  4. Beer with yerba mate – a revolution in the market?
  5. For cooling down on a warm day

An idea from South America: yerba mate cerveza

Yerba mate, the coffee alternative native to South America, is primarily associated with a warm brew – prepared in a profiled mate gourd and drunk through a metal bombilla. Mate tea can also be drunk cold, poured over ice-cold water. Optionally, cold tereré can be made with the addition of chilled juice. What if, instead of water or juice, you could use… beer? As it turns out, the idea of yerba mate with beer is nothing new, as the Latin Americans, the original yerba mate drinkers, have already come up with it. In their case, from the Spanish language, it is called yerba mate cerveza.

This raises an important question – is yerba mate with beer a safe combination? According to media reports, alcohol and popular energy drinks are an explosive mixture, dangerous for the body. When drinking alcohol with energy drinks full of synthetic substances, chemical reactions take place which can have unpleasant and, in extreme cases, even dangerous consequences for health. There is caffeine in energy drinks, just as there is in yerba mate. So, by way of deduction, the question arises: can the combination of Ilex paraguariensis with beer be as dangerous as the combination of energy drinks with vodka? As it turns out, caffeine itself does not react with alcohol. Alcohol and caffeine do not affect each other's effects or their metabolism. However, when combining yerba mate with alcohol, it is important to remember to exercise moderation – a caffeine-stimulated body can feel the effect of intoxication with a delay, which can end in an unpleasant hangover the next day.

Yerbeer – an experiment with yerba mate

Following in the footsteps of South American mate lovers, I decided to test the combination of beer and yerba mate on my own. I poured yerba mate Rosamonte into the calabash – it's one of my favourite mate. It has always seemed good to me both hot and cold. When I read that it was possible to combine mate with orange juice, milk or beer I immediately wondered how one of Argentina's top brands would fare in the “experiment”. I didn't want to go for flavoured mate, as these in themselves are ready-made blends. I was curious to combine a classic with another classic. I would have committed a crime if I had poured Rosamonte with a regular beer “conglomerate”. I am more of a gourmet mate than a beer drinker, but I can tell the difference between the taste of a good regional or kraft beer and a mediocre industrial production. So I decided for my Rosamonte to choose a good companion. The choice fell on a traditional, heavily hopped lager from a brand known for the quality of its beer rather than the volume of its production.

How did the “experiment” turn out? The beer tasted good to my Rosamonte, as she drank the first millilitres greedily. The drink soaked in quite quickly and efficiently. There was a strong head right away, and the aromas of hops and yerba mate that were released created an interesting, interpenetrating whole. After just a few inhalations, I knew there would be a clash of two strong, interesting flavours. After slowly topping up the volume of the vessel (I had to add beer gradually, as the leaves were settling into bigger and bigger beer bubbles), it was time to taste it. The whole thing came out strongly bitter. The maltiness, the hops of the beer and the bitterness of the traditional mate intermingled very interestingly without fighting each other. It seemed that the power of flavour would leave no room for anything else. However, somewhere in between, the “rose” of my Rosamonte was comfortably lodged. I have a feeling that for a beginner or a proponent of lighter flavours it would be too bitter, but for me the effect was remarkable. The olfactory experience was equally interesting. After drinking the blend, I inhaled a refreshing aroma of beer mate.

Yerba mate with beer

Yerba mate cerveza light version

The combination of yerba mate and beer has proved to be a hit. It is power, energy, stimulation, refreshment and excellent thirst quencher all in one. However, I would recommend caution when choosing the right proportions of dry product and alcohol, so that the stimulation and the characteristic yerba mate bitterness are not too strong. "Beerba" has only one downside – you can't drink too much of it for known “percentage” reasons, but I think that Ilex paraguariensis will work equally well in combination with non-alcoholic beer. An interesting option for getting the taste of yerba mate with beer in a non-alcoholic version is offered by the Brazilian brand Verde Mate Green, which has two “beer-like” compositions in its range. In Verde Mate IPA, the main role, apart from the green, air-dried yerba mate, is played by the addition of aromatic hops, whose bitterness perfectly harmonises with the holly. Verde Mate Radler, on the other hand, is a version turned up a bit with citrus additives. I have tried both and recommend them!

Beer with yerba mate – a revolution in the market?

Coffee-infused beers are no longer anything new on the market. A little heavier, but you can also find kraft beers with tea added. Yerba mate, as the third stimulating sister, is also an interesting topic for beer producers. Unsurprisingly, a Brazilian beer maker was the first to market a beer with yerba mate added. After a little research, I came to the conclusion that the combination of mate and beer is popular especially among kraft breweries from the United States, but it was also possible to find some niche products from Europe. What's more, some of the products rank really high in industry rankings. This is an interesting direction for the beer revolution. I hope that in the future it will be more widely discovered by domestic producers. Who knows? Maybe, just like various IPAs, wheat beers or honey beers, mate beer will also become widely available.

For cooling down on a warm day

Yerba mate and beer pairing is a rather masculine, specific flavour. Especially if one chooses a strongly hoppy drink and a classic yerba mate with a lot of power. Nevertheless, there are so many types of beer and so many types of mate that you can experiment to your heart's content and search for your own taste, and each mix will give you a new experience. The refreshing combination of beer and yerba mate is the perfect “under the cloud” option – for a long weekend or summer festival. For practical reasons, I stay with traditional brewing, but when, with a weekend away, I occasionally need refreshment, I will opt for an interesting, relaxing blend.


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Yerba mate.
  2. S. Ferré, M. C. O'Brien, Alcohol and Caffeine: The Perfect Storm, Journal of Caffeine Research, 2011.

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