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Bock Damm (350 of 1001)

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

The second ever beer brewed by Barcelona’s Damm brewery and introduced way back in 1888, this beer is still one of the most popular dark beers brewed in a country those beer scene is almost completely dominated by pale, blond lagers. This one is a beer that features on the 1001 beers list and as a result is one that I’ve been looking to try on my last few trips to Spain but was surprisingly unable to find it one previous visits before finally stumbling across it at the tail end of last month when returning to Barcelona. The beer is actually available in a number of pubs and some supermarkets in the city which makes it all the more odd that I wasn’t able to pick it up sooner but I eventually sampled a pint of the stuff in a local bar just off the Placa Reial in Barcelona city centre just over a week ago. Despite the name of the beer, this ‘bock’ is actually much closer to a Munich style dunkel lager and due to it’s lack of bitterness was in the past aimed at female drinkers in its advertising campaigns while the bottle itself features the image of a goat which was added as a play on the fact that the word ‘bock’ translates from German as billy-goat.

Appearance (3/5): Dark mahogany coloured with an opaque body and quite a thin head on top that was a foamy texture and slightly off-white in colour; there’s was some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass and the surface was covered well too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty on the nose initially with some basic roasted notes and malts coming through in the early going, there was a touch of caramel in there too. The beer turned out to be lighter than expected on the nose which was surprising given it was such a dark beer but some hints of sweetness did manage to appear alongside some grassy touches nearer the end.
Taste (6/10): The taste started off in much the same vein as the nose with a lot of nutty flavours and some lighter caramel sweetness backing it up, there was faint biscuit and some roasted malts in there too. Around the middle I managed to get some lighter grassy flavours but there was no sign of any hops or bitterness and it came across as quite a basic offering.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and moderately carbonated, this one was a semi-sweet offering thanks to the touches of caramel coming through at times. There was a fairly basic feel to the beer and it seemed a lot lighter than expected too but the balance was a decent one and it proved easy enough to drink without being an overly enjoyable one.

Overall (10/20): Quite a basic dark beer that wasn’t quite as strong or as pronounced as I’d been expected with the majority of the taste coming through the roasted malts and faint caramel that featured throughout. There was no sign of any bitterness or hops to the beer which sadly made it seem quite bland and basic but the light sweetness off the back of the caramel was at least somewhat enjoyable. It’s definitely not a beer to go hunting for but it’s always nice to check another beer off the 1001 list even if it’s not a great one.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Damm S. A.
First Brewed: 1888
Type: Dunkel
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Cerveceria Canarias, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.60 (£4.01 approx.)

I.C.A. Malalts De Malta

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

The first review of a beer that I managed to try on my recent trip to Barcelona now, this is an 11.5% Sapnish brewed quadrupel from the Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana based in Barcelona and it will be my first beer from them, although the Belgian Rye Fruit APA Citra-Mango that I tried in Barcelona last year was brewed by Piris Beer at the I.C.A. brewery. I ordered this one on-tap at the Abirradero bar in the city on my second day in the city since it’s not everyday that I stumble across a kegged quadrupel, and a Spanish brewed local offering at that. The beer promised a strong malt taste with plenty of cherries which swung it for me over some lighter beers on the menu, many of them also from the I.C.A. brewery but sadly this was the only beer of theirs that I managed to try on this trip; hopefully I’ll pick up a few more on my next visit to the city.

Appearance (4/5): Dark mahogany coloured with a thin, foamy head that is half a centimetre tall and slightly off-white, sitting with a bubbly texture and some faint lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Dark malts and plenty of cherries kick things off here as expected, there was some faint alcohol coming through as well but thankfully it was less pronounced than I’d feared given it was such a strong beer. There was a nice combination of dark fruits near the middle with some raisins and dates both featuring but the cherries from the start still dominated. Towards the end things started to fade a little quickly and at times it seemed lighter and less complex than you’d expect from such a big beer but it was still fairly nice throughout.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, there was again a nice combination of cherries and very dark malts with some dates and raisins coming through slightly earlier this time around. I managed to get some light alcohol again but it seemed a fraction stronger than with the nose, there was some pleasant spices and a touch of bourbon at this stage too. Still not as strong as you’d expect from an 11.5% beer but slightly more complex than with the nose, the beer was fairly sweet down the stretch with some sugars and ripe fruits featuring too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, this one was a strong offering with some alcohol showing but it was still a lot lighter and less pronounced than you’d have expected from the high alcohol content. It wasn’t a particularly complex offering either, besides some early spice and a darker fruits there wasn’t much coming through at all and it bordered on basic at times; it’s definitely not a beer than impressed me much sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite disappointing overall really, this one wasn’t an overly strong or complex offering and to be honest that’s what you expect when you pick up an 11.5% abv. beer. The promised malts and cherries were in attendance from early on which meant things got off to a decent enough start but there wasn’t much following on from there and it was all a bit underwhelming really. Some alcohol grains and a touch of spice make an appearance nearer the end, there was some further ripe fruits and sugars too but it definitely wasn’t complex and it was one that I just couldn’t get into really.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana (I.C.A.)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Quadrupel
Abv: 11.5%
Serving: Draught (250ml)
Purchased: Abirradero, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.50 (approx. £3.93)

Lemke Bohemian Pilsner

Rating: 3.75

Now for the last of the five beers from the Lemke brewery that I managed to try while in Germany last month, this one a Czech style pilsner from the brewery that I found on keg at one of their Berlin brewpubs and managed to try on my second night in the city. This one follows on from the brewery’s 030 Berlin Pale Ale, Hopfen Weisse, Imperial Stout and Original offerings which all turned out to be pretty enjoyable beers. Overall the brewery is one that I’ve been fairly impressed with and I’ll definitely be on the look out for more from them in future, although finding their beers in the UK will likely prove to be problematic at best but maybe I’ll get lucky at some point.

Appearance (4/5): Light golden to amber in colour and quite a clear looking beer that was topped with a foamy white head sitting about half a centimetre tall. There was some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and head retention was fairly good for the style, managing to hold well in the early going and get the beer off to a good start.
Aroma (7/10): More hoppy than I’d initially anticipated, there was a nice combination of lemon and citrus to kick things off an provide a decent tang to proceedings. The beer definitely wasn’t the strongest on the nose though, there was some grassy hops and touches of lager malt with a faint spice nearer the end but for the most part it was a fairly standard smelling pilsner.
Taste (7/10): Quite a tangy offering with plenty of lemon and citrus carried over from the nose to give the beer a somewhat fresh taste that was complimented by some nice grassy flavours and subtle hops. Towards the middle some biscuit and a faint sweetness started to make itself known but nothing overpowered and again it was quite a light beer; a pleasant lager taste with some corn and earthy hops seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Light medium bodied with a fairly fresh feel to proceedings and a subtle tang from the citrus in the early going too. The beer had a pleasant bitterness to it but nothing overly pronounced, there was a semi-dry feel as well and the beer was moderately carbonated throughout. It turned out to be a fairly easy beer to drink with a nice balance but it could have been a little stronger, particularly with the nose.

Overall (15/20): This one was a fairly enjoyable offering from Lemke again but probably not quite as good as some of their previous offerings that I’ve tried recently, mainly down to the fact that the nose was quite subdued and could definitely have been stronger. There was some pleasant citrus flavours throughout the beer and I enjoyed the earthy bitterness coming through around the middle with touches of spice in there too. It was quite a fresh and easy to drink beer with some dryness and a solid lager taste throughout without it ever really exciting; nice stuff but probably not the best from the brewery.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, Berlin, Germany
Price: €5.00 (£4.30 approx.)

Marcus-Bräu Rotbier

Rating: 3.3

Now for a somewhat random beer that I managed to sample in Berlin when I visited the city over the Easter weekend, last month. This one is a beer from the Marcus-Bräu brewpub that is based in the Mitte area of the city and is a place that I stumbled by one afternoon when wandering about the area, before quickly deciding to stop in and see what they had on offer after discovering it was a local brewpub. The beer I went for was one of three that they had on-tap the afternoon I visited and is also the first review of a rotbier that I’ve uploaded to this site as well; I have previously tried some of the style though. The other offerings that day were a lager and a wheat beer as I recall and I was planning to stay for more than one but in the end decided against it, I was happy that I managed to try one of the brewery’s beers though and here is what I thought of it.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a cloudy and almost murky looking amber coloured beer that has some orange tinges running through it as well. The beer is topped quite a large, two-inch tall head that is creamy white in colour and frothy looking but manages to hold quite well initially with some good lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some earthy hops and a subtle floral base, this one had a lot of biscuit notes coming through along with a few sweet malts. There was touches of caramel and burnt toast nearer the middle of the beer, I managed to detect a little bread at this point too but it could have perhaps been a touch stronger; a pleasant, earthy bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): Following on in a similar vein to the nose, this one opened with a lot of biscuit and bread malts before some earthy bitterness and touches of spice made themselves known towards the middle. The beer was a little stronger than it was with the nose and some faint caramel managed to come through before being followed by a few sweet malts but again the beer was a somewhat basic offering.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite smooth, the beer was earthy with a subtle bitterness to it and soft carbonation. It was a little basic and the nose seemed weaker than I’d have liked but it wasn’t a bad one on the whole.

Overall (14/20): This one was an okay offering overall, it was quite a subdued beer with nothing really standing out but I guess part of that was down to the fact that the balance was quite a good one. The beer opened with some sweet malts, biscuit flavours and a touch of caramel which blended well together and made it quite an easy beer to drink but I’m not sure it’s one that I’d order a second of.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Marcus-Bräu
First Brewed: crica. 2016
Type: Rotbier
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Berliner Marcus Bräu, Berlin, Germany
Price: €4.50 (appox. £3.81)

Lemke Hopfen Weisse

May 1, 2017 4 comments

Rating: 3.8

The first of five beers that I tried from the Berlin based Lemke brewery now, all of which I managed to find while in Berlin over the Easter holidays recently having made a point of visiting their brewpubs when I was in the city. First up is their Hopfen Weisse which will be my first new weizenbock in quite some time, mainly because new ones of the style are so hard to find in the UK and not because I’m not a fan of them. This is one that I managed to sample on-tap at one of the brewery’s bars in the Alexanderplatz area of the city and enjoyed it so much that I opted to buy a few random bottles by the brewery when I was leaving, with a view of trying them back at my hotel later in the weekend; here’s what I thought of the first of their beers though.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour with some copper tinges and quite a cloudy body, this one is topped with a thin head that sits about a half centimetre tall and holds pretty steady after that whilst leaving a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and fairly spicy on the nose, this one opens with some touches of coriander and cloves before a nice helping of banana makes itself known and imparts touches of sweetness on the aroma. There was some bread malts and hints of caramel nearer the middle of the beer before some lemon rounded things off alongside a subtle touch of alcohol; good stuff so far though.
Taste (7/10): Opening with the banana from the nose, the beer tastes slightly sweeter this time round with some bread malts following on behind before the cloves and some of the spice start to show themselves. Around the middle some citrus flavours come through, particularly touches of lemon and there is a nice biscuit flavour towards the end before some grassy touches see things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and fresh with a very good balance and some spices coming through as well. For the most part the beer was quite smooth and very easy to drink despite the fact some hints of alcohol showed at times; excellent stuff.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice weizenbock and very enjoyable, it’s not often I get to try this style of beer but I really should more often if they taste this good. The beer opened with a nice combination of citrus flavours and bread malts but it was the banana and the subsequent sweetness that helped steal the show. It seemed very slightly more hoppy that some other wheat beers I’ve had recently and there was even hints of bitterness nearer the end but the balance was quite a good one and it proved very easy to drink as well; nice stuff and one well worth looking out for if you find yourself in Berlin at any point.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Weizenbock
ABV: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex, Berlin, Germany
Price: €5.70 (£4.84 approx.)

Weihenstephaner Pils (348 of 1001)

April 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

Yet another beer from the 1001 beers list now, this one being my fifth review of a beer from it in a row now and this one is another that I managed to sample whilst on holiday recently. I picked this one up on keg at the Weihenstephaner Beer Hall in Berlin over Easter earlier this month, having visited the pub because I knew they’d have this beer available and because it is the last of the two beers from the brewery on the 1001 list that I still had to try, having first tried their flagship Hefe Weissbier back in May 2011. This one is actually a beer that I’ve been keeping my eyes open for since then and have found it online a few times already but every time I’ve attempted to place an order for it the beer has quickly sold out; finally I got my chance to try it in Germany though. The beer will be my 348th from the list that I’ll have reviewed here and is one of only two new beers from the list that I managed to try in German on my recent visit, a review of Rothaus’ Tannenzäpfle should follow shortly after this one.

Appearance (4/5): A light to golden amber colour that has a very clear body and quite a large, foamy head that sits about two inches tall in the glass initially. There looks to be a creamy texture to the head and it is bone white in colour as well as having good retention over the opening few minutes, with only a touch of the initial height lost and there is plenty of good lacing on the sides to make up for this anyway.
Aroma (7/10): Not an overly strong beer on the nose, not compared to the brewery’s wheat beers anyway but there was at least some good malts and lager notes in the early going alongside a few grassy hops and some citrus. There was a faint bitterness nearer the middle of the beer before some subtle sweetness showed itself but overall the beer was quite light and fresh on the nose with some spice and the faintest of coriander notes seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, the taste is quite a fresh one but it is also quite light with some grassy hops and a touch of citrus opening things up. The coriander from the end of the nose is again present but shows itself earlier this time, there is some lemon coming through too but there wasn’t much in the way of a standout flavour really; it was still quite a nice beer though.
Palate (5/5): Smooth and very crisp, this one was exactly as a pilsner should feel with lively carbonation and a great balance that was helped by the fact that none of the flavours were particularly strong. There was some fizz and a slight hint of bitterness from the middle on which made it an incredibly easy beer to drink and one that was quite effervescent too.

Overall (16/20): Another excellent beer from Weihenstephan and up there with some of the best pilsners I’ve tried, mainly due to the fact that the beer looked good and had an excellent palate; the taste and nose weren’t bad either but nothing was really a standout from them. The beer was incredibly easy to drink with an excellent balance from the start and some nice sweetness at times that worked well with the subtle bitterness that featured throughout the beer. It’s a beer that could probably have benefited from being just a touch stronger, particular with the nose but it was very pleasant from the start and one that I’d definitely have again.

Brewed In: Freising, Germany
Brewery: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
First Brewed: 1908
Type: German Pilsner
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Weihenstephaner Beer Hall, Berlin, Germany
Price: €4.60 (£3.90 approx.)

Misty Contemporary IPA

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

Another beer that I sampled on my last full night in Poland last month, this one is my first beer from the Trzech Kumpli brewery based not far outside of Kraków in the south of the country. I managed to try this beer on-tap at the Spiskowcy Rozkoszy bar in Warsaw and was somewhat surprised with it given I was expecting a hoppy IPA but it definitely had hints of a saison coming through at times which was unusual. Coming from a brewery that I’ve never heard of and one that wasn’t even widely available in Warsaw, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this offering but it did turn out to be a nice beer and I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for more of their stuff when I visit Kraków later this year.

Appearance (5/5): A light, almost yellow golden colour that is tinged with amber and topped with a bubbly lacing around the circumference in lieu of a head whilst the beer itself looked quite cloudy and unfiltered; definitely not the best of starts.
Aroma (6/10): Hints of a saison come through early with the nose and are backed up by some yeast and wheat before come citrus hops bring things to the middle. There was a slightly floral aroma to the beer but it was definitely more funky than I’d anticipated with a lot more tart showing than usual for an IPA. Towards the end some orange and lemon notes started to come through as well but for the most part the saison like aromas dominated.
Taste (7/10): The taste of this one was a slightly more subdued version of the nose that came through with some lemon and tart flavours in the early going but it definitely wasn’t as zesty as the nose had been. There was some wheat and hints of banana near the middle with some orange as well before yeast and the odd spice started to bring what was a fairly fruity tasting beer to a close.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and relatively crisp, this one was quite a dry and zesty beer with some funk showing but less carbonation than expected, it sat somewhere around light-medium in that department and could have used more. The balance of the beer was a good one however and it was relatively easy to drink into the bargain without being anything special really.

Overall (15/20): Quite a surprising beer in that it was labelled as an American IPA in the bar I sampled it in but when I actually drank the beer it was more like an IPA/saison hybrid with quite a lot of zesty fruits and citrus alongside some strong yeast and tart flavours. There was a nice balance to the beer with some subtle spices nearer the end as well, even some banana and wheat featured at times too to make it a fairly enjoyable beer without it being a classic.

Brewed In: Tarnów, Poland
Brewery: Browar Trzech Kumpli
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Keg (300ml)
Purchased: Spiskowcy Rozkoszy, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 9 PLN (approx. £1.76)