I’m very pleased to learn about chicha. I’ve known for years that one of the great human traditions is to ferment anything that won’t crawl out of a pot, but the big hole in my understanding of that principle was that I didn’t know of a maize beer.
Actually, without knowing it, you probably have had something to drink which was made from a “maize beer”. Many hard liquors are distilled from fermented corn, in other words, a maize beer. Corn is ideal for making the neutral spirits used to make vodka as well as gin and other flavored liquors, since it imparts almost no flavor of its own to the resulting alcohol. (Years ago I worked in the Lab for a while at Hiram Walker & Sons here in Peoria (at that time) and we had to test samples daily from the fermentation tanks.)
Where I come from it’s called “Shine”!