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Posts Tagged ‘spain’

Mahou Negra (352 of 1001)

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

This one is only my second review of a beer from one of Spain’s biggest brewery’s, Mahou and follows on from their Mahou Cinco Estrellas that I sampled on-tap in Glasgow back in March. This one is the brewery’s flagship dark beer and is actually one that I’ve been on the lookout for over the past year and a bit, having previously tried to pick it up last year when I first visited Barcelona but surprisingly I was unable to locate a bottle. I also attempted to have family members get me a bottle on their trips to Spain but finally I managed to find it in a Carrefour supermarket on La Rambla on my recent trip to Barcelona; better late than never I guess. The beer is another from Spain on the 1001 beers list that I’ve be able to check off and means I only have three more from the country to try and a review of Montseny Lupulus will follow in the coming days, so technically I only have two more to pick up now. As for the beer itself, this one is a dunkel style lager that was first brewed back in 1908 and it wasn’t really one that I held out much hope for before trying it, I really only wanted to check it off the list and had assumed it would be much easier to find than it proved to be. Anyway, here’s what I thought of the beer when I tried it at the start of the month.

Appearance (4/5): Copper brown and semi-opaque looking, the beer is topped with a centimetre tall head that is foamy and tan brown in colour with okay retention but it eventually turns slightly patchy after a minute or so; it’s certainly better than I had expected though.
Aroma (5/10): Dark malts and some caramel notes opening up proceedings here, there is some roasted notes as well but it wasn’t really anything that I hadn’t been expecting. I managed to detect some spice nearer the end but overall it was quite a one-dimensional beer on the nose and not overly exciting sadly.
Taste (6/10): The taste kicked off in a similar fashion to the nose with some basic malts and roasted flavours before a nutty taste started to appear nearer the middle followed by some hints of caramel along with some light spices. There was a few bread malts following on from this with hints of toffee adding to the sweetness from earlier on which meant that this was a slight improvement on the nose but still not exactly a classic.
Palate (3/5): Light medium bodied with a slight tang and quite an easy to drink feel to it, the beer was quite basic and one-dimensional but not off-putting at least. There was some sweetness from the caramel and toffee flavours but the main point to note was the roasted, nutty feel to the beer that dominated throughout.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a basic beer on the whole and pretty much what I’ve come to expect from mass-market beers like this, although it was relatively easy to drink. The beer kicked off with some nutty flavours and a touch of caramel to impart some early sweetness to proceedings. There was a strong roasted bitterness to the beer throughout with touches of toffee nearer the middle that helped add to the earlier sweetness, a few burnt flavours managed to sneak in too though. It’s probably not a beer I’d go back to again, even if it was more readily available to me but it was at least another off the 1001 beers list and it remained drinkable throughout.

Brewed In: Alovera, Spain
Brewery: Mahou S. A.
First Brewed: 1908
Type: Dunkel
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour supermarket (Barcelona)
Price: €0.85 (£0.75 approx.)

Edge Padrino Porter

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

Only my third beer from Barcelona based Edge Brewing now and another that I managed to pick up when visiting the city a few weeks ago. This one is a beer that follows on from the same brewery’s Hoptimista IPA and Squiffy Sailor offerings, both beers that I enjoyed and both that I picked up here in Glasgow so this one will be the first from the brewery that I’ve reviewed in Barcelona despite the fact I’ve visited the city twice in just over a year now; I really should have picked up a few more when I had the chance. The beer itself is an American style porter that was initially released in early 2014 and appears to be one of the brewery’s most readily available options if you go by the amount of reviews it has online; it’s also pretty popular too. Anyway, here is what I thought of the beer when I had it at the start of the month and hopefully I’ll be able to pick up a few from from the brewery before I next visit Barcelona, whenever that may be.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark looking beer, this one pours a mahogany colour with an opaque body and quite a thick looking, centimetre and a half tall head that was a tan brown colour. There is some visible carbonation running through the body of the beer while the surface is covered well by the head which holds relatively well.
Aroma (7/10): Dark malts and some early sweetness kick things off here, there was some caramel with a touch of alcohol nearer the middle as well. There was a good combination of cocoa and roasted malts around the middle too with some burnt toast and the odd hop sneaking in before some coffee and subtle spices seen things out alongside a little grain.
Taste (7/10): Quite a malty beer with some solid roasted bitterness and touches of alcohol that carried on from the nose, there was a little sweetness from the caramel at this point too. The beer was a pleasant some with a nice variety of darker fruits coming through which added to the sweetness and helped balance out the darker, more roasted flavours from the middle of the beer as well as tasting good.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite thick at times, there was a little more alcohol showing in the early going than I would have liked but it was a pleasant beer that went down relatively easily. Some hops did manage to sneak through at times, particularly with the nose but that is something I’d have liked to see a little more of but there was some nice sweetness and touches of spice to shake things up a little which made for a good mouthfeel overall.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice Spanish brewed porter and another cracking beer from Edge despite the fact it’s probably not the best style of beer to be drinking in the warm weather but is was still an enjoyable one. There was a nice malt bitterness to proceedings with a couple of hops sneaking through in the early going, mainly on the nose but some did show in the taste as well, albeit to a lesser extent. There was some solid roasted flavours with the odd alcohol grain appearing at times but it wasn’t an overly strong beer which meant it was a relatively easy one to drink and one of the better Spanish beers I’ve tried of late, although that’s not always saying too much I guess.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Edge Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Porter
Abv: 6.9%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Simply Basic Supermarket (Barcelona)
Price: €3.50 (£3.06)

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)

Mahou Cinco Estrellas

April 5, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 2.2

A twenty-fifth Spanish beer now and one that pushes it above the north of Ireland to joint tenth with Croatia in my beers by country list, this one being a beer that I’m actually quite surprised that I’ve not reviewed here before now considering how well-known it is within Spain. Mahou Cinco Estrellas (or just Mahou as it’s commonly known in the UK) is a beer that I’ve tried multiple times over the years on various trips to Spain but it’s probably been upwards of ten years since I’ve last tried it and as such it’s not one that I can remember all that much about. Brewed just outside Madrid, it’s one of the main Spanish beers but it’s not one that appeared to be overly popular in Barcelona when I visited last year. I finally managed to sample this one at a Cuban themed bar in Glasgow recently and it was worse than I ever remember it being; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (3/5): Light amber and quite a clear looking beer, there was a lot of fine bubbles rising to the surface though and suggesting quite an actively carbonated offering. The head was a centimetre tall that was bone white in colour and formed with a foamy texture but managed to hold well over the opening minutes.
Aroma (4/10): Light and definitely quite basic on the nose, there was a hint of skunk in the early going with some background hay and grassy touches. It was more of an earthy hop aroma that was quite subdued and weak at points, I struggled to detect much of anything initially and it was never really a strong nose; poor stuff really.
Taste (4/10): Similar to the nose, this one kicks off with some basic adjuncts and corn but is still quite a light offering. There was some skunk showing at times without it overpowering and a few basic biscuit flavours started to appear nearer the middle along with subtle citrus flavours. It’s definitely a very basic beer with a few grassy flavours rounding things off but little else to grab your attention really.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied, bordering on thin with quite a dry feel that’s also fairly crisp but ultimately quite basic. There was some faint fizz at times and very subtle sweetness off the back of the biscuit malts but there was also some skunk showing at times which wasn’t great; it’s a very basic and bland beer throughout really.

Overall (8/20): Quite a disappointing beer overall, it was basic and fairly bland from the start but at the same time it was pretty similar to a lot of macro pale lagers out there. There was light citrus and biscuit flavours at times but for the most part the beer was all hay, grassy touches and basic adjuncts with a hint of skunk to round things off; it’s a bad day when a beer makes Estrella look good.

Brewed In: Alovera, Spain
Brewery: Mahou S. A.
Also Known As: Mahou Five Stars
First Brewed: Brewery since 1890
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Revolución de Cuba, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.60

Dorada Especial Roja

February 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.45

Labelled as a limited release and what will be my second beer from the Cervecera De Canarias brewery in Tenerife, this one has been available since late 2015 and follows on from the bottle of Tropical Bandido Cerveza Con Tequila that I reviewed here previously. Like that offering, this one is another that was given to me as a gift from family members returning from Lanzarote recently and prior to trying either beers was the one I held out the most hopes for; hopefully it doesn’t let me down and proves to be a good one. The beer itself is a Vienna lager that comes in slightly stronger than average for the style, sitting at 6.%% abv. in the bottle and will be the first Vienna lager I’ll have tried since the bottle of Trouble’s Kill Lager that I sampled just after New Year. The beer will also be my twenty-fourth Spanish offering but I’ll likely pick up at least a few more when I visit the country again later this year.

dorada-especial-roja

Appearance (3/5): A red tinged caramel amber colour that has quite a clear body and is topped with a decent looking, creamy white head that starts just over a centimetre tall. There is a few bubbles through the head of the beer as well and is slowly loses a bit of its height, ending up about half a centimetre tall after thirty seconds or so but it’s a better than expected looking offering without looking great.
Aroma (4/10): Definitely not as malty or sweet a nose as I’d anticipated in the early going, the aroma is a basic one with some corn adjuncts and a few lighter, almost fruity notes that are reminiscent of most pale lager without being skunky. Touches of citrus come through with a bit of hay and earthy hops in there too but after that I struggled to detect much of anything really. Towards the end the beer was quite a clean, bland one on the nose and it’s not like any Vienna type lager I’ve tried previously; pretty poor stuff really.
Taste (5/10): Thankfully the beer is slightly more to style with the taste and opens with some sweetness that comes from a combination of toffee malts and touches of caramel, t’s not an overly sweet beer but at least some was showing. This was quickly followed by citrus and lemon flavours alongside some corn adjuncts from the nose and a little hay; a few grassy hops featured as well. Some subtle background fruits and a light bitterness came through as things drew nearer to the end and I got an earthy, almost toasted malt taste right at the end too.
Palate (3/5): Quite a clean, crisp beer that was a little too bland at times as well as coming through a little lighter than I’d have liked; it was somewhere between a light and light-medium beer but it definitely seemed a touch thin at times sadly. There wasn’t anything offensive about the beer though and it was fairly easy to drink but it was miles away from the Vienna style of lagers at times and far to basic into the bargain.

Overall (11/20): This turned out to be a bit of a strange one considering it was labelled as a Vienna style lager but then failed to deliver on the sweetness or malty flavours for the most part, it also opened with a tonne of skunk on the nose that I really wasn’t expecting. The beer improved a little after being given some time to open up and allow the skunk to subside a little but there wasn’t enough from the caramel or toffee malts to make it a great one. It wasn’t really an offensive offering and the light body coupled with the crisp, clean palate made it an easy one to drink but it’s unlikely I’ll have it again.

Brewed In: Tenerife, Spain
Brewery: Compañía Cervecera De Canarias
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Vienna Lager
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Lanzorote, Spain
Price: Gift

Tropical Bandido Cerveza Con Tequila

February 22, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 2.0

A rare beer from a Spanish island now, this one is a beer that was introduced in late 2016 and brewed on the island of Tenerife. The beer is one that I was given as a gift from family returning for Lanzarote recently and by the looks of it, the beer is the Spanish take on France’s Desperados tequila beer. I’m informed that the beer selection on Lanzarote wasn’t really up to much and I’m not really expecting anything great from this one either but it’s always nice to try a new beer that I’d not have found otherwise; I just hope it’s better than the likes of the Amigos Tequila Beer that I tried a while back.

tropical-bandido-cerveza-con-tequila

Appearance (2/5): A clear and fairly light looking amber colour that is topped with a foamy white head that sits about a quarter of centimetre tall then fades to leave a little lacing around the circumference of the glass after about twenty seconds or so.
Aroma (4/10): The beer opens with quite a strong and skunky nose that is mainly corn and basic adjuncts but thankfully this subsided a little after a couple of seconds and the lime notes started to come through along with some sweeter malts that definitely made the beer seem quite cheap one the nose but not necessarily off-putting at least. Some lemon and citrus notes start to come through nearer the middle with the odd grassy note in there as well but after the initial skunky notes the lime was what dominated and it definitely wasn’t a great beer on the nose.
Taste (4/10): Opening with the lime and citrus from the nose, there’s not as much of skunk coming through at this stage with the taste thankfully and the beer seems a touch sweeter this time round too. I got some basic malts and vegetable adjuncts with some sharp spice around the middle before an almost lemonade like flavour came through nearer the end. It’s not a strong beer on the taste and again the lime flavours dominate, giving the beer a syrupy taste in the process too.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied but fairly well carbonated and almost gassy at times, the beer was very sweet with a syrupy feel to it from the lime which also seemed artificial. There was some skunk, particularly as I opened the bottle but it settled some after a while but it’s quite a poor beer really.

Overall (8/20): Starting as a very poor beer, particularly on the nose where the skunky notes were very strong in the early going but thankfully it settled down a little by the middle. There wasn’t a whole lot to this beer in truth save for the lime and basic adjuncts that followed the skunk from the nose, there was touches of citrus and a few grassy flavours nearer the middle but it’s definitely a basic beer and one that I’d avoid having again.

Brewed In: Tenerife, Spain
Brewery: Compañía Cervecera De Canarias
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Spice/Herb Beer
Abv: 5.9%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Lanzorote, Spain
Price: Gift