Amid the driest non-polar desert in the world, the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, there is one main source of water: the fog that comes in thick clouds called camanchaca. While animals like the guanaco drink the water from the condensation in cactus spines, the locals trap it with fog catchers. Now, this main source of water has become the livelihood of Atrapaniebla, a brewing company in the region that’s putting Chile on the map for more than wine.
Chilean physicist Carlos Espinosa invented the fog traps and donated his patent to UNESCO in the 1980s so that the tool could be used anywhere. Set up on foggy slopes, fog catchers are made of Raschel nets, a type of fine mesh. They catch suspended water droplets to gather and merge into small gutters that run into collection tanks.
As global environmental conditions change swiftly, parts of the Coquimbo region of Chile are set to become part of the Atacama Desert by 2050. Throughout these times of increasing drought and desertification, fog catchers have become critical to water harvesting for the people of this region. The practice has helped save their community not only by providing the essential element during droughts but by allowing them to brew the special beer that brings tourists.
Using a “fog catcher” to cultivate the water from the clouds, Atrapaniebla brewing of Arica has crafted two varieties of ale with unique flavors. Their brown ale contains complex layers with hints of chocolate, caramel and coffee, intermingled with salty and refreshing notes. Meanwhile, their Scottish ale features a sweet malt with touches of caramel and saline flavors. The light golden foam that’s a signature part of their drinks is thanks to the fog water.
Chile has been known worldwide for its wine. But with German immigrants establishing a craft brewing scene in its southern Patagonia region, the country is fast becoming renowned as a South American leader in beer brewing.
Take an exciting luxe-adventure journey aboard World Navigator’s “9-Night Lima to Valparaíso” sailing November 12, 2022 or World Traveller’s “10-Night Santiago to Lima” sailing April 9, 2023 to taste the fog beer for yourself.