Xingu Black Beer

Yemanja Brasil, 2900 Missouri Avenue, 314-771-7457

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As evidenced by the likes of Beamish Stout and virtually any porter on the market, dark beer is generally relegated to cooler, WASP-y climes. Drink it with a sweater on -- maybe an Irish cable-knit, like the one Owen Wilson dons in Meet the Parents. Are you a homeowner? Well, then, maybe a dark beer crate -- carved from a single piece of wood, of course -- graces your backyard.

Yes, dark beer is a tomcat, Iceman. Except in summer (Iceman), when it's about as useless as Goose's corpse in a cockpit (Iceman). Enter Xingu Black Beer, said to have its roots in sixteenth-century Amazonian culture. Most dark brews have a nutty or chocolaty finish -- and a gut-huggingly heavy one at that. Not Xingu, which goes down like sugarcane cola with a garden-hose kick. Which makes sense when you think about South America: That's one hot Southerly snatch, so any beer with Brazilian roots is likely designed to quench with aplomb.

St. Louis isn't exactly a hotbed for food originating south of the equator, which is what makes the Benton Park's lone purveyor of Xingu, Yemanja Brasil, such a pearl (and explains, in part, why we pimp isto restaurante as hard as any establishment this side of the Tin Can). Known primarily for its fresh, authentic chow and sticky-sweet caipirinhas, Yemanja Brasil aims to put you right on the Amazon, right on down to its thatch-roofed bar and silent, bloodthirsty army of deck-dwelling mosquitoes.

The joint's emphasis is on its restaurant incarnation, which is really too bad this time of year. Yemanja's patio -- and, in turn, Xingu -- flies largely under the radar midweek, when a couple of jolts is all you need to bridge the gap to another wild, wacky weekend. A Don Ho doppelgänger on ukulele and an outdoor-only happy hour might serve to positively interrupt this quasi-hibernation of al fresco libation, but that's not really our place to say.

But, hell, at least Yemanja's patio stays open Sunday evenings, which more than makes up for its promotional focus. Thankfully, Brazilians know a little something about extending the weekend. And judging from the unique appeal of Xingu, they know a fair bit more than the Yanks when it comes to making dark beer for people other than Owen Wilson in winter.

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