beer reviews Spain

Basque beer – two offerings from Pagoa

San Sebastian is considered to be a bit of a foodie paradise, with lots of local wines, ciders and spirits to match. I hadn’t been expecting to find any basque beer, but I was on the lookout, and I struck gold early on with a couple of offerings from Euskal Garagardoa S.A. in their “Pagoa” range – Orhi, a pilsner and Gorri, a “Red Ale”. I gather from various internet searches that there is (or was) also a stout (Zunbeltz) available but I’ve not been able to find it.

The beers are described as “traditional Basque beers” and the ingredients are just barley, hops, water and yeast. Both are 4.9%. There’s no other information on the bottle.

These beers got a bit of a slating on Ratebeer but I have to say I really enjoyed them. Possibly in contrast to the standard Spanish fizz and the disappointing offers from the various French microbrewers that we tried in the last couple of weeks (possibly more to come on that, but I don’t want to slag off microbrewers who are trying their best).

The Orhi in particular was very pleasant. I was reminded more of a koelsch than a pilsner (malty, fruity flavour, low carbonation, medium body, long finish) but it was great to have a beer where you could taste the malt and the hops. It also went very well with the spicy chorizo stew I was eating.

The red ale reminded me of an Alt, with a toasty malt taste, and again quite fruity and not particularly carbonated.

Definitely worth seeking out if you’re in Spain.


PS Sorry about the lack of photo – I have one, but no way of transferring it onto this computer at the moment.

5 replies on “Basque beer – two offerings from Pagoa”

I know this is off topic, but I went Interrailing when I was 17, and San Sebastian had the most beautiful girls of anywhere in Europe.

I wasn’t into beer then sadly.

The Porterhouse have been doing the hard sell on Pagoa for a couple of years now but I haven’t got round to trying it yet. I’ll save it for the next time I’m in their Dublin tapas bar, I think.

Be interested to see what you think. I may have lost my ability to judge beer after a couple of months without an ale (though i did have a Chimay red to recalibrate). For what it’s worth, i thought the Pilsner complemented the paprika taste very well.

Oh, and I found the stout too, so a review of that to come.

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