Tag Archive: Spain


Basqueland: Saveur Bière: Coco Chango (Spain: Imperial Porter: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Medium sized grey-brown head.

Nose: Bourbon. Liquorice. Bunt toffee. Coconut. Cinder toffee. Toasted teacakes. Marshmallows. Coconut macaroons. Slightly spicy.

Body: Thick. Rye spice. Vanilla toffee. Chocolate fondue. Bitter chocolate cake. Slight caramel. Bourbon. Brown bread. Bitter coffee. Peppery.

Finish: Nutty. Peppery. Bitter cocoa. Crushed walnuts. Slight mint leaves. Spicy. Coconut.

Conclusion: Ok, I can see no mentioned of bourbon ageing on this thing’s bottle, so I presume it has not spent any time in the oak – which is odd ‘cos from the experience drinking it I could swear this has been barrel aged. Any which way it is a good sign for the beer. Whatever caused it, it smooths a thick beer and adds a light sweetness to heavy, rye touched, spicy porter.

So, good start. Let’s dig into the details.

This opens up with a kind of burnt toffee, bonfire night and bourbon aroma. Some coconut notes to tease me, as coconuts in dark beer is totally my jam, and hints of liquorice which were a bit of warning as over used liquorice in dark beers can be my ..erm, anti-jam? Still, a good start. Could do with more awesome coconut, but good start.

The body comes in very differently after that. It is thick, with a wonderfully heavy texture with plenty of rye spice against cream toffee and bitter chocolate cake. It starts out on the sweeter end of the spectrum and gets spicier and more bitter as the beer goes along, but still matched against that creamy sweetness.

The finish is the only bit that doesn’t quite grab me. It is quite savoury and spicy without the contrasting notes needed to make that work. Also not enough coconut, but that is true of the whole beer.

Overall it is lovely – great progression both in aroma to body, and in over time within each element. It is thick, heavy but smooth. Sweet up front, spicy at the end. I love it. There is a slightly weak finish, and it could do with more coconut, but despite that it is still highly recommended.

Background: A new brewery on me, and this one caught my eye as it is an Imperial Porter made with coconut and rye. It is the coconut that really caught me. Long time readers will know that coconut porters and stouts are totally my thing. I love them. One down side of the beer though was it is yet another one with wax to seal the bottle. In this case the wax was very brittle, so thankfully easy to get off the bottle, but it was hard to try and stop the crumbs from falling into the damn beer. I have really gone off wax sealed bottles through overexposure over the years. Maybe one beer a year from each brewery can justify wax, all the others can fuck right off. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. I hadn’t heard of their collaborators, saveur bière, a quick google tells me they are an online beer store. Neat. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with Miracle of Sound’s awesome Metal Up for background drinking music again.

Garage: Cartoons (Spain: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Massive yellowed loose bubbled head.

Nose: Tart grapefruit. Pineapple. Wheaty hop character and bitterness. Flour. Slight banana.

Body: Good bitterness. Tart grapefruit. Stewed apricot. Subtle peach underneath. The hop character and bitterness grows rapidly. Slight vanilla. Subtle toffee. Slightly milky late on.

Finish: High bitterness. Prickly, bitter hop character. Peppery. Grapes into grapefruit. White bread crusts. Slight flour. Slight gherkin like sour twist. Dried banana.

Conclusion: Yep, that’s a hop kick. It starts off merely as a solid kick, but rapidly lays on the hop bitterness and punch to higher levels as it goes on. Very nice. There is nothing oily or resinous to it, just fluffy hop bitterness and kick delivered fairly cleanly. Old school(ish –old for USA style IPAs) hop use ya know, and I like it.

The fruity character has to work hard to get past the bitterness, but it just about manages to push through. It’s mainly grapefruit, tart and puckering. There are peach and apricot hints, even subtle banana, but don’t rely on them to be a major part of the beer. The tart notes are the main backing to the hop kick.

The malt body starts out even more out of the way. It isn’t an attenuated dry west coast style thing, it just isn’t really evident initially. Later on the slightly milky, slightly toffee notes show themselves and we have some welcome extra sweet notes in the latter half of the beer.

Its a rock solid bitter kick, tart styled IPA. Very little malt – lots of bitter hops. My kind of thing. It is kind of one track mind, but its just what I look for in an IPA so I’m not complaining.

Old school(ish) tart, hoppy, bitter fun.

Background: Sooooo, Garage did Snake Fear, an IIPA which blew me away, so I’ve had a hankering to see if they can make lighting strike twice. So when I saw Independent Spirit had more of their beers in I zeroed in on this one to grab. It’s pretty warm (for the UK) at the moment so I chilled these down nicely before I broke it open. Oh if the me from years ago could see me now. Chilling beers down. I am a monster in his eyes. This was drunk fairly late at night – I had been playing “Dead In Bermuda” and was convinced I was at the end of the game. Turns out there was about another two hours to go. Ah well, at least that meant it was cooler by the time I finally drank it. Went back to Crossfaith – Ex_Machina for music while drinking to give a bit of energy.

Grupo Damm: Free Damm – Non Alcoholic Lager Beer (Spain: Low Alcohol. 0% ABV)

Visual: Darkened yellow. Moderate white head. Very small amounts of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Sugar dusting. Wet cardboard. Fresh cooked rice. Fresh white bread.

Body: Sugar dusting. Sweet vanilla. Glucose drinks. White bread.

Finish: Vanilla. Artificial glucose drink touch. Light hop character. Slight gentle lime. Long lasting.

Conclusion: This is kind of empty. Kind of neutral. Kind of, well, just there. The best I can say is that, while it tastes kind of like the bland mainstream lagers that were my first encounters with beer as a child, it doesn’t taste any worse for being alcohol free. So, slightly better than Tesco Value Lager! Woooo!

So, let’s look at the good side first – be positive! Well the low carbonation means that this isn’t a Fosters like soda stream of a lager which is nice. It is fairly clean and refreshing. Emr… ok, I’m running out of things to say on this side.

There are a few elements that give away it is a low alcohol beer – mainly that kind of sports drink glucose touch which pops up, though a lot less evident than in a lot of similar beers. Generally though it just tastes like the mediocre, generic kind of flavourless lager.

That makes it a hard one to write about, there isn’t really anything to get your teeth into. There are no elements that are rough, harsh or otherwise stand out as unpleasant. Mainly because it doesn’t have much in the way of any flavour.

Well… it is better than Fosters!

There, notes done.

Background: So, very little to put in this part. Was in Sainsbury’s, saw that they had a pack of this low alcohol beer, thought I would give it a try. Oddly, despite being 0% ABV you still need authorisation to buy it at the checkout. Go figure. Anyway, that is all, I like trying new low to no alcohol beers, this was one of them. Put music on random for this, had no real intent.

Garage: J Wakefield: Dark Times and Difficult Places (Spain: Berliner Weisse: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy strawberry yogurt colour. Thin white dash of a head.

Nose: Lightly tart. Black-cherry yogurt. Strawberry. Tart pears. Tart white grapes. Perry. Light creamy cheese and black fruit bits.

Body: Gently tart. Pear flans with sugar dusting. Light wood shavings. Black-cherry. Blackberries.

Finish: Blackberry tart desserts. Pears. Apple pie. A fresh feeling. Pear juice. Crumbly cheese.

Conclusion: Man the 10th Doctor would have hated this beer. Because it really tastes of pears. Now if you are wondering what the hell I am talking about its from a deleted scene (kind of) so is non cannon, but screw it I’m counting it. If you are still confused, don’t worry, I’ll start talking about the beer in a moment.

Anyway, yes this tastes of tart pears. In fact they come in initially deliciously fresh, and then are backed up by a gentle tart air. It contributes to and complements a wonderfully crisp, but oh so drinkable base for this beer.

Over that base is black-cherry, blackberry, strawberry and other brighter and showier fruit. In fact, that reminds me – I haven’t even mentioned how this looks yet. It is wondrous on the eye – a bright strawberry cocktail looking, showy wee thing. It hits the eye perfectly so the visual first bite taken is a happy one. I think I may be mixing my metaphors again.

Anyway, to back up a bit to the first bite ..i mean sip.. taken by the mouth. There is a soft berliner weisse tartness under everything, a gentle alcohol air that keeps it beer tasting rather than seeming just like a fruit juice mix. Subtle, but welcome.

It’s dry, with light oak and even some crumbly, creamy cheese notes that add savoury edges – but the main show is the brilliantly done, natural fresh fruit. My only issue is that I wish that the abv was a tad lower as this is dangerously easy to drink.

An absolutely lovely fruit berliner weisse with a dry attenuated finish matched to a fresh tart middle that means you can drink it for ages. Very much a yes, drink it.

Background: Ok, is it just me, or does that can image remind anyone else of the end of George Bataille “Story of The Eye”? Just me huh. Content warning for anyone who goes to read it after me mentioned it – Bataille is kind of obsessed with transgression in violence/sex/pretty much everything, so it is one serious messed up book. Anyway that is not why I bought this. I bought because so far Garage have been one hell of a great brewery. This is a Berliner Weisse made with pears and blackberry. Drunk after putting a serious session into Dark Souls 3, so I earned my beer. BTW if you invaded and killed someone in Dark Souls 3 over the past week, it may have been me and I hate you. For music I put Miracle Of Sound – Level 9 on to listen to – was still in a bit of a video game mood. Thanks to craft beer sis for giving me the glass used for this photo – seemed just right for such a bright fruity beer. This beer was grabbed from Independent Spirit. Yes again.

Garage Beer Co: Wild Beer Co: Snake Fear (Spain: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy apricot with an off white heads. Looks bitty on the pour, which dispersers into the haze when settled.

Nose: Dried apricot. Resinous, sticky hops. Mashed banana. Light sulphur. Dried mango. Crusty white bread. Some bitterness. Traditional lemonade. Peach melba.

Body: Thick. Oily hop feel. Kumquat and purple peppers. Quite savoury early on. Dried mango. Mashed banana. Traditional lemonade. Custard. Peach melba. Bitterness rises over time.

Finish: Purple peppers. Oily, resinous hops. Moderate bitterness. Creamy lemon and lime. Light sour cream.

Conclusion: On first pur of this I sighed – seeing the cloudy pour I realised it was a New England take on the IPA style – so I was fairly sure I knew what I was in for. Another beer of low bitterness, lots of fruit, not bad but so very overused at the moment. That is what I was thought. Nope. Nothing like that at all. Bad pre-judging Alcohol Aphorist.

This is full of thick hop oils and resinous character – “Dank” as the “Hip kids” say these days. Or maybe just people younger than me anyway. Hopefully actual kids aren’t drinking double IPAs. Single IPAs are the way to go until you are over 18, as is well and right. Also I don’t think the hip kids say “Hip kids” any more.

Anyway, apart from my age related breakdown – this starts slightly one note with savoury kumquat styling backing the resinous hops. This develops into a quite the range of dried fruit notes along with lighter citrus touches. Everything still feels heavy though – carries a lot of weight and sticky hop feel.

The thing is, the New England interpretation isn’t entirely absent either – there is a creamy character, the obvious visual aspect and the fruit character becomes recognisable banana and peach over time as they rise from the depths.

To my eyes it is the best thing to come from the New England IPA craze – it is influenced by it, but not beholden to it – takes the heavy, sticky hopped side of IPAs and matches it to the creamy NEIPA character.

An impressive creation of flavour and weight. If can find it, definitely try it.

Background: Now there are two things I tend to grab – Wild Beer Co stuff, and stuff from countries I’ve tried few or no beers from. So a Spanish brewery, Wild Beer collab was a must have. Plus the whole metal duck can pic was cool, if nothing to do with snakes nor fear. Unless you are afraid of ducks. Ducks are vicious shits so I can understand that. The can got a bit dented when being brought home from Independent Spirit – I had put it in with the Rodenbach Alexander and the wire cage around the cork had dented the can. I’m fairly sure the contents were fine, but decided to drink it as quickly as possible- just in case. It’s a hard life. Drunk while listening to Crossfaith – Zion – awesome, but I’m still disappointed I’ve not found a way to buy their Omen cover in the UK.

Nomad: Outland Whisky (Scottish/Spanish Whisky: 41.3% ABV)

Visual: Burnished deep gold.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Thick and spirity. Sherry trifle and brandy cream. Raspberry yogurt chunks. Raisins. Light burning notes, but mostly smooth. Oak.

Body: Very smooth. Brandy cream. Custard. Vanilla toffee. Sultanas. Sweet red wine. Honey. Very slightly light, but warming if held. Sulphur if held. Raspberry yogurt. Condensed cream. Water makes smoother, and fuller with more raisins.

Finish: Rum soaked raisins. Vanilla toffee. Light wood. Light waxy character. Dry sherry. Water makes trifle like.

Conclusion: This is both definitely a young whisky, and also a very smooth one. One of those odd contradictions that I don’t expect but enjoy when I find them. It has a spirity thickness, but even neat it has a restrained burn and water soon turns it into a very easy drinking thing.

It doesn’t seem to get a lot of the flavour from the base spirit – it feels like this is all coming from the barrel ageing, all the way. Lots of brandy cream notes, very creamy in general with sherry, sweet red wine and raisins all showing from the barrel ageing. It is a sweet and dark fruit laden thing with a slightly waxy feel when neat, but becomes just clean smoothness with water.

A tad simple isn’t the right words for it – there is a lot going on here, with honey and vanilla toffee sweetness backing the fruit – however there really isn’t any sign of where it came from outside of the barrel. So if you are into whisky for all the odd quirks that come from different makes of the spirit then you will not get that here. However taken for what it is it is very enjoyable. Very smooth with water, very trifle like, very sweet – it gives a lot to enjoy from the short, unusual, ageing.

So a whisky for general enjoying, fun and, with water, is amazing at not showing any rough edges from its youth. At a higher price point I would want more odd quirks from the base spirit, but as is it gives a lot for your money. In fact it reminds me slightly of the Irish style whiskey in its smooth, sweet and easy drinking style. So a Scotch touched, Irish feeling, Spain finished whisky. A true nomad – very good value easy drinking whisky.

Background: Odd ageing done with this one -it is made up of a mix of 5 to 8 year old whisky that has been aged in Sherry butts in Scotland for three years, then sent to Jerez where it is finished in Pedro Ximenez casks for a year. I first tried a sample of this at Wine Rack in Leeds, just before going to see NXT wrestling. We had been aiming for the excellent North Bar and just nipped into the Wine Rack as it was right next to it – unfortunately I was a tad skint at the time, so couldn’t grab a bottle then – instead grabbing it months later from Independent Spirit. Its a good shop though, so thought I would give them a mention. Drunk while listening to some Siouxsie and the Banshees – never really listened to them before, but has seen an excellent tribute band to them, so was giving them a try.

Artesans Maians: Espiga Blond Ale (Spain: Golden Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow blond. An inch of white head.

Nose: Grapefruit. Shortbread. Mandarin orange. Pink grapefruit. Pineapple. Crisp hops.

Body: Tart. Vanilla and cream. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Pink grapefruit. Just slightly gritty feel, but generally smooth. Mandarin orange.

Finish: Soft pink grapefruit and mandarin orange. Light cream. Solid bitterness and hop character. Light raspberry.

Conclusion: Ok, that is a lot of hops for a blond ale. A heck of a lot more than I expected, and bringing with it a good level of bitterness as well. Not a challenging level of bitterness, not super high, just more than I would have expected based on the style.

It comes in very fresh with that as well – working tart fruit in a grapefruit and orange style, with a fairly big bitterness to match those tart flavours. It sure as heck doesn’t feel like a traditional blond ale – with the hop level if feels IPA influenced, but the gentle blond ale base is still under there. It has a soft, milky and creamy character with a slight buttery shortbread feel. It is there, but with the high level of hops you won’t see much of it. It is nice to know it is there though, and it does give a solid base for the rest to work from. Generally fairly smooth, but occasionally a grittier touch rises, I presume from the hops.

It is very enjoyable – but doesn’t quite win my heart as it feels trapped between the two styles it is influenced by. The mass of hops works a lot better with an IPA base, and because of those hops it doesn’t really make the best of the blond ale base. Even I as a huge hop head has to admit beers don’t have to be all about the hops all the time. However, being torn between two worlds doesn’t make it a bad beer – it still pushes a lot of the tart fruit notes while keeping a suitable soft blond base – it is getting something new out of the deal.

So, a very good beer, not super special, but has a very good set of flavours to be had in the midst of a drinking session to revitalise without being too harsh.

Background: A beer from Spain! Beer trying to grab some from Spain in a while, I hear they have a pretty good craft scene going on at the moment. Yes that is mainly the reason I grabbed this from Independent Spirit, but since I grabbed it I found it out in it in the top one percentile by style on ratebeer – so has a damn good rep it seems. If I remember rightly it is also gluten free if that stuff is of use to you. Anyway, drink while listening to some more Miracle Of Sound, just before heading out to Germany for my recent holiday.

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