La cerveza española es magnifica

Feria Internacional El Artesana De La Cerveza

El Reino Unido no es la única comunidad a la que le gusta la cerveza de barril en este momento, conocida como cerveza artesanal en algunos lugares. Actualmente, no estoy seguro si me gusta usar esas palabras para describir cerveza pero las usare porque tienen su uso. También, parece que España está teniendo un resurgimiento en cerveza artesanal (o es que es un surgimiento por que no pienso que España haya tenido muchas cervezas artesanales antes). Mis pruebas sobre el aumento en cerveza artesanal? Un par de ferias de cervezas que han tenido lugar en España en el último año. La primera, la 2ª Feria de la Cerveza Artesana de Madrid, tuvo lugar a finales de mayo. La feria parece que ha incluido un número de cervezas artesanales de España, Reino Unido y Estados Unidos. La segunda feria de cerveza ha tenido lugar el fin de semana pasado, a finales de junio, en el norte de Madrid llamada  1ª Feria Internacional El Arte de la Cerveza Sana. Esta feria de cerveza parece tener más influencia internacional con cervezas de Bélgica, Alemania, Francia, Italia, Inglaterra, Escocia, Irlanda y Estados Unidos. Una mirada rápida a los participantes expertos revelo que Melissa Cole, periodista y sumiller experta en cerveza artesanal, era una de las asistentes. Aunque no pudimos ir este año, he sido fiablemente informado de que podemos ir el próximo año a uno de estos festivales. Conchi puede visitar a sus amigos en Madrid y todos podemos ir y probar muchas cervezas españolas. Todos ganan!

WP_001514No he encontrado muchas de estas cervezas artesanales que parecen estar disponibles en España. Generalmente, en los pubs que he visitado, sirven todas las cervezas que son conocidas en España , Cruzcampo, Mahou, Estrella, San Miguel por nombrar unas pocas. Estas cervezas regionales están disponibles en casi todos los pubs y bares. Pienso que si quiero encontrar estas cervezas artesanales tendré que viajar a Madrid. Un compañero de blog, Cerveza de Garaje, me ha hablado sobre unos pocos lugares donde encontrar cervezas artesanales en Madrid, incluidos una fábrica de cerveza, una tienda y un pub. La primera parada será una pequeña fábrica de cerveza a las afueras de Madrid llamada Cervezas La Virgen donde tienen uno pequeño ‘brew’ pub. La segunda parada será una tienda llamada Cervezarama en Calle Malasaña. Aparentemente, tienen no solo muchas cervezas artesanales de todo el mundo pero también muchas cervezas artesanales españolas. La última parada será La Tape en Malasaña y San Bernardo, donde puedes encontrar de 6-8 cervezas artesanales de barril.

WP_001521Como he dicho, no he encontrado muchas cervezas artesanales. Sabiendo que mi elección de cervezas seria limitada en un viaje a Jaén, propuse el siguiente reto a los amigos y la familia de Conchi (ver post sobre la cerveza española). Decía así: ‘Podéis encontrar unas cervezas buenas y nuevas para que yo las pruebe? Puede ser cualquier tipo de cerveza, con tal de que no la haya probado antes. Puntos extra si encontráis una ale española.’ Realmente, no pensaba que fueran a tener exito, pero estaba equivocado. Jose y Pili (y la madre de Pili) encontraron ocho cervezas de las tiendas locales. Puedes ver que la colección incluye una cerveza de Alemania pero el resto son españolas, incluida una de Ibiza en una botella de metal. Particularmente, me gusto la etiqueta y el sabor de Santa Magarida. Esta parece y sabe cómo una cerveza artesanal hecha en España.  WP_001534El novio de la hermana de Conchi, Javi, también encontró otras 4 cervezas. He tomado dos de estas cervezas antes, San Miguel Selecta, una versión más oscura de la San Miguel normal, y Cruzcampo Gran Reserva; pero las otras dos eran nuevas y de nuevo, estas parecían cervezas artesanales. Por último, pero no  menos, Esther encontró una cerveza llamada Carmen en el Corte Ingles para mí. Me gusta esta botella. Esta cerveza definitivamente cuenta como una Ale española, así que Esther recibe unos puntos extra.

WP_001528Así que estas son las cervezas con las que me encontré  cuando fui a España en Marzo. No tuve tiempo de bebérmelas todas cuando estuve allí. Las que me quedaron, fueron transportadas al apartamento de los padres de Conchi en Roquetas del Mar donde estaban esperando mi llegada a la playa en Julio.  Un último punto, yo sé que he dicho que no he encontrado todavía una cerveza artesanal en España. He dicho una pequeña mentira. Durante el viaje a Jaén he encontrado una botella de cerveza artesanal de Tierra D Frontera en un bar de Jaén. Esta cerveza estaba muy bien. Que suerte!

Spanish beer is magnificent

Feria Internacional El Artesana De La CervezaWe in the UK (that’s the Royal ‘we’) are not the only community that are liking cask and keg beer at the moment, known as Craft beer in some circles. The jury is still out with me currently on this term but I will continue to use it as it does have its uses. Spain also appear to be having a resurgence  in craft beer (or is that a surgence as I don’t think Spain have had much craft beer before). In Spain, craft beer is known as ‘artesanal’ beer. My evidence for the rise in craft beer? A couple of beer festivals that have popped up in Spain over the last year. The first, the 2ª Feria de la Cerveza Artesana de Madrid (2nd Madrid Craft Beer Fair) was held at the end of May in, of course, Madrid. The festival looked like it included a number of Spanish, British and American craft beers. A second beer festival that is happened at the end of June is one that is North of Madrid called 1ª Feria Internacional El Artesana de la Cerveza (1st international fair “The Art of Craft Beer”). This beer festival looks to have a more international influence with beers coming from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland and the USA. A quick look at the particpating experts reveals one of the attendees was Melissa Cole, Journalist and expert craft beer sommelierl! Although we could not attend this year, I have been reliably informed that we are allowed to go next year to one of these festivals. Conchi can visit her friends in Madrid and we can all go and try the many Spanish beers that are available. Everybody wins!

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I have yet to come across many of these ‘artesanal’ beers that seem to be more available in Spain. In pubs generally, at least the ones I have been to, they serve the mainstream lagers that Spain is well known for, Cruzcampo, Mahou, Estrella, San Miguel to name a few. These regional lagers are available in almost every pub and tapas bar that you go to. I think that if I want to find these ‘artesanal’ beers then a trip to Madrid would have to be in order.  A fellow blogger, Cerveza de Garaje, has given me a heads up to a few places to find some ‘artesanal’ beers in Madrid including a brewery, a shop and a pub.  The first stop would be a small brewery just outside Madrid called Cervezas La Virgen where they have a small brew pub. The second stop would be a shop called Cervezarama in Calle Malasaña. Apparently, they not only have much craft beer from all around the world, but also much Spanish craft beer. The final stop would be La Tape in Malasaña and San Bernardo, where you can find 6-8 craft beers on draft.

WP_001521As I said, I have yet to come across many of these ‘artesanal’ beers. Knowing that my beer choices would be limited on a trip to Jaen, I declared the following challenge to Conchi’s friends and family (see my last post about Spanish beer). It went as follows ‘Can you find some good, new beers for me to try? It can be any kind of beer, as long as I have not tried it before. Bonus points available if you find a Spanish ale’. I didn’t really think they would succeed but was I wrong. Jose and Pili (and Pili’s mother) found eight beers from the local shops. You will see that the collection includes a German beer but the rest are Spanish including one from Ibiza in a metal bottle! I particularly liked the look, and the taste, of the Santa Magarida.WP_001534 This one looks, feels and tastes like a craft beer made in Spain. Conchi’s sister’s boyfriend, Javi, also came up with the goods in the form of another four beers. I have had two of these before, the San Miguel Selecta, a darker version of normal San Miguel, and Cruzcampo Gran Reserva, but the other two are new and again look ‘craft like’. Last but not least, Esther found me a Carmen beer in El Cortes Ingles. I like this bottle. It tells me it is definitely Spanish in origin. This one definitely counts as a Spanish ale so Esther gets some bonus points.

WP_001528So this was the haul that I found myself with the when I was in Spain in March. I didn’t have time to drink all of these beers when I was there. They were safely transported to Conchi’s parents beach apartment where they were awaiting my next arrival in Spain. One last point. I know that I said that I had not yet come across an ‘artesanal’ beer. I told a little lie. During the trip to Jaen, I found a bottle of Cerveza Artesanal by Tierra D Frontera in a pub in Jaen. This beer was very good. How lucky!

NB. This post was written back in June and has only just seen the light of day as I have been very slow at translating it to the Spanish version.

Seven beer weekender

I may not have known whether I had a new beer on Sunday (Abingdon Bridge or Cumbrian XB? probably Bridge but I don’t want to admit it, I am in denial), but the weekend was not a total whiteout. Get it, all that snow! I managed to try seven new beers and lagers. Woohoo! Friday night saw a Northern beer from Tadcaster, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, and a Greek beer called Thursday’s Red Ale. Thursday was the better one. Nut Brown ale was, well, too nutty! Made to taste of beech nuts, almonds and walnuts, according to the tasting notes, with a rich nutty colour. Thursday was a bit like a red lager and was more refreshing than the Nutty Ale. Saturday night saw a trip to Oxford in the Snow starting with a visit to The Bear. I do like this place but it is always busy. And why is it that the tallest people always stand in the lowest ceiling part of the bar? So funny watching them with bent necks trying not to bang their heads. Being a Fuller’s pub, it was either a Fuller’s beer or Shotover’s Prospect or Scholar (these are the guest beers they usually have on). Fuller’s Jack Frost sounded good, so I opted for that (see the 1st cool photo?!). It was a good beer that had a toffee, tea and fruity berry taste that didn’t dominate the overall hoppy and bitterness flavour of the beer. Well, that’s what the tasting notes say. I say it was a good drinkable beer. Maybe I need to learn how to taste beer properly, use all the fancy tasting words that you see on the tasting notes. They must do courses for beer tasting, like wine tasting courses for wine (note to self: look for a beer tasting course).

Jack Frost      Mahou

After this, the night continued and finished with a streak of Lagers, Spanish lagers, at Kazbar on the Cowley Road. Three different beers were drunk including Alhambra Negra, a rather good, dark beer, that is slightly malty, quite fresh and medium bodied, and Mahou (see 2nd cool photo?!) and Estrella, middle of the road Spanish lagers that don’t hold a candle to San Miguel 1516. I do like that lager beer. Have I said before how smooth it is? So, Sunday accepted, it was good beer weekend that increased the total beer count to 28, as you can see from the good photos (2nd note to self: take better photos of the hand pumps and the beers).