As if further proof of the rising popularity of microbreweries in São Paulo were required, Karavelle becomes the latest brewpub offering another option in the burgeoning artisanal local beer scene. Opened in 2013 by business partners Dinho Diniz and Otavio Veiga along with singer/actor Seu Jorge, whose image appears kissing a bottle, beaming out at patrons from the many TV screens around the three-storey bar, Karavelle carefully walks the line between being a sexy low-lit nightspot, and a destination for beer enthusiasts.
On our visit, as a mix-and-match soundtrack of ’80s new wave and unnecessary dance music played, a post-work crowd had packed out the tables by the large stainless steel kettles on the ground floor, and up on the covered, open-sided rooftop lounge, where smoking is permitted (at least for those sitting by the veranda’s edge). Sample Karavelle’s brews – indeed, it’s the only brand on offer – with the pleasantly surprising tasting selection (R$30), which features a reasonably sized sample of each brew: red ale, wheat beer, stout, IPA and two pilsner varieties.
The Keller pilsner was the clear winner, with the other beers just slightly too sweet for our palate. There’s also a full menu of spirits, but it’s best to avoid their own strange cocktail inventions, like the beer caipirinha (R$25.50) – beer, ice, lime and cachaça – which arrived with a salted glass rim, and tasted as confused as it sounds. For snacks, the coxinha de ossobuco (osso buco croquettes, R$28.50) and the fried squid rings (R$35.70) are both solid choices, although overpriced for the rather small portion sizes.
Karavelle is one of São Paulo’s more ubiquituous craft beers – the São Paulo state countryside label is making its way into most of the city’s supermarkets, as well as being on tap in a few bars, such as Wall Street Bar and Frangó. And while the suds at the brand’s brewpub aren’t necessarily worth a special trip, this spot makes for a decent happy hour meeting point nonetheless – if you order carefully.