Novo Brazil Now Open ...

Novo Brazil recently opened at Bikeway Village on Florence Street. The new Brew Pub offers a variety of beers and kombucha and a menu that encompasses food from many areas.

Novo Brazil Brewing has been building a reputation for its beer and kombucha over the years in South Bay, and now Imperial Beach residents will be able to enjoy its products without having to go far. Open for about two weeks at Bikeway Village, Novo Brazil has become a popular hangout in town. On a recent visit many patrons were watching a World Cup game on the giant screen TVs while enjoying what Novo Brazil’s menu has to offer.

Assistant Manger Lucas Escuin explained that Novo Brazil’s owner, Tiago Carneiro, opened the first location on Lane Avenue in Chula Vista in 2015 as a small brew pub, which is also the location where the beer is made. By 2020 Carneiro opened a second location with a larger restaurant in the Otay Ranch Mall, which was followed by another place in National City at Market on 8th. The Imperial Beach location is the latest addition, located on Florence Street, something that has been in the works for a year.

Carneiro, who is Brazilian, owned a brewery with his parents and brother starting in 1999 in his native Brazil. Carneiro comes from a long line of bakers, and in time his father started brewing beer and liking the process. “They have a love for beer and fermentation,” said Escuin, who is also Brazilian and a good friend of Carneiro’s brother. Escuin was brought onboard the Novo Brazil team after finishing college in Florida.

Escuin explained that Novo Brazil is all about Brazilian energy. From the beer and kombucha flavors to the dishes on the menu and the decor. “[Tiago] wanted to bring the Brazilian spirit to Southern California and bring the Brazilian energy… the way they make the beer and kombucha is inspired by Brazilian fruits with tropical elements,” he said. Novo Brazil offers unusual beer flavors like watermelon, and strawberry coconut among many. The brewing of beer with tropical flair led to the inspiration of creating kombucha in the same way. “It was an opportunity to improve the kombucha market in Southern California,” said Escuin.

Novo Brazil’s menu offers 64 beer and kombucha choices on tap, and features the same food and drinks at all locations. The dishes served at the restaurant are a mix of cuisines for all tastes from Brazilian to American and Mexican, and range from appetizers to full meals. Some Brazilian choices include appetizers like Empanadas with choices of meat or cheese, Yucca Fries, and Coxinha, a type of chicken croquette. For the main course, the Avocado Salad is very popular as is Steak and Fries made with Picanha, a prime sirloin cut, Brazilian style, served with Yucca Fries. Burgers, sandwiches, and skewer dishes served with rice and beans are also a good and filling choice.

In addition to the beers and Kombucha, under the label Nova to distinguish it from the beer, Novo Brazil offers a California spritz menu made with beer as well as hard seltzer, and non-alcoholic kombucha with flavors like pineapple or agave and mint — both excellent choices. Escuin pointed out that the non-alcoholic kombucha is a healthier choice for those who stop by while riding on the bike trail. Hard kombucha include spicy flavors like Mango Chili made with jalapeño, and Hot Cactus made with prickly pear, agave and jalapeño. Both beer and kombucha flights are also on the menu for those who want to try a few varieties.

Escuin said one of the favorite beers is the Mango IPA, and especially in the summer the Novo Lager, one of Novo’s lightest beers. In the winter, customers like the darker beers like Cuervo Negro.

The Imperial Beach location is very large and has a beach vibe with yellow and blue walls and the black and white wavy design — a trademark of the Copacabana boardwalk created by Roberto Burle Marx. The Novo Brazil logo features a toucan, yet another reminder of the inspiration from Brazil. The very large indoor area which seats almost 300 has light wood tables matched with aqua chairs. Glass garage doors that can be opened or closed provide light and fresh air as needed. The outdoor patio has a cozy feel with hanging lights and a beautiful view of the bay. “We want to bring in comfort… the food is comfort food too, and people feel like they are at home,” said Escuin.

The Imperial Beach Brew Pub has a few brewing tanks as a reminder to patrons Novo Brazil creates its own beers, while the serious brewing takes place in Chula Vista.

Canned beers and kombucha are also sold at the restaurant to enjoy at home. Reservations for groups and celebrations are welcome. Novo Brazil products are also for sale at supermarkets including Vons, Albertsons and Whole Foods.

Novo Brazil, 535 Florence Street. Call (619) 257-4423. For more information log on www.novobrew.com.

VOL. 113, NO. 1 - Jan. 4, 2023

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