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Montseny Aniversari IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of two Montseny beers that I managed to try when in Barcelona recently, this one being the third I’ve tried in total from the brewery and follows on from lasts years Malta as well as their Lupulus pale ale that I tried just before this one. I originally grabbed this one over another beer from the brewery’s roster after being misled by the anniversary part of the name and incorrectly assuming that it was a one-off, limited release from the brewery but it has in fact being available since 2012. Formerly known as CCM Anniversary IPA, the beer appears to be a year round offering from Montseny and managed to win a silver medal at the Barcelona Beer Challenge last year in the American IPA category so in hindsight it is still a beer that I’d have picked up had I known more about it; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it earlier this summer.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a fairly clear body, this one didn’t have much in the way of a head but there was at least a thin white lacing on top that just about managed to cover the surface of the beer but it could have been a little better.
Aroma (6/10): Herbal hops and a few citrus notes open things up here, there was a little malt coming through in the early going too but nothing overly strong. Towards the middle the grassy flavours started to come through and I managed to get some lemon in there but other than that it was quite a standard beer on the nose; it could definitely have been a little more varied though.
Taste (7/10): Quite a bitter offering in the early going with the taste, the beer was fresh and had a lot of citrus showing along with a few basic fruits and a very slightly tropical taste at times. Towards the middle there was some pine and the odd floral flavours, some grassy hops showing too before the malts from the nose started to come through from the middle on. It was quite a fruits and easy-going beer with some further fruits near the end that made it a slight improvement on the nose.
Palate (4/5): Fairly bitter on the palate thanks to the strong malt presence but also quite fresh at point with plenty of fruits and citrus coming through which in turn provided a nice tang in the early going. It was definitely a more malty beer than expected but it seemed easy-going and the fruits helped the balance a lot, as did the good carbonation levels.

Overall (14/20): This one was quite a nice offering from Montseny and definitely the best of the three beers from them that I’ve tried thus far, surprising given it is the only one of the three not to feature in the 1001 beers list. The beer opened up with quite a malty taste but there was enough fruits and citrus flavours backing them up to keep things balanced and interesting throughout. That being said, the balance could perhaps have been a touch better but for the most part it was a nice beer and one that I wouldn’t be against having again; it’s probably not one to go hunting for though but it is worth trying at least.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €1.99 (£1.75 approx.)

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Montseny Lupulus (353 of 1001)

June 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.35

My second beer from the Montseny brewery now and another that I tried on a visit to Barcelona, this one coming a year after I tried their Malta beer in the city back in 2016 and I actually have review of another of their beers to follow this one; thankfully both of which were better than the first from the brewery I tried last year. This one is what I think will be my first ‘Iber’ beer, basically a beer that uses top fermenting yeast alongside lager malts so that’s another type check off at least. The beer is one that I had been looking for on last years trip to Barcelona but I was unable to pick up a bottle, I did however find it a couple of weeks ago in one of the shops I tried at the same time last year so I guess I was just unlucky in finding it last year. This one will be my ninth Spanish beer from the 1001 list as well and leaves me with only two more from the country to try, one of them being another Montseny beer but sadly I was unable to find it on my last trip so I’ll have to wait a little longer I guess.

Appearance (3/5): Pale golden coloured and a touch cloudy looking, this one was topped with a thin white head that sat about half a centimetre tall and left a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Semi-fresh on the nose with some pine and citrus hops opening up proceedings, there was some orange notes and a couple of lighter, summer fruits as well but nothing overly strong. Around the middle some floral notes and a bit of zesty citrus fruit came through before the malt bitterness seen things out; not overly complex but pleasant.
Taste (6/10): Opening like the nose, this one was zesty and quite fresh with touches of lemon and citrus to kick things off before a few herbal notes started to appear around the middle. It’s quite a basic tasting beer in truth but there was slightly more malts than with the nose, I also got a few grassy hops and pine too but it wasn’t really anything special sadly.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and crisp, the beer was lively and had a bit of a bite to it as well. It was a well carbonated offering that was well-balanced too with a subtle tang nearer the end and a basic malt bitterness to round things off.

Overall (13/20): Quite a nice beer and one that was drinkable throughout without going through as overly complex and unusual, this being despite the fact that it was probably my first ‘Iber’ beer. It opened well with some nice zesty flavours and a little pine, the malt bitterness wasn’t too far behind and stayed with you until the end. It was relatively easy to drink and the balance was a good one which made it quite sessionable and miles better than the only other beer from the brewery that I’ve reviewed here so far, their Malta offering.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2007
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €2.15 (£1.89 approx.)

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