beer reviews real ale Spain

Rosita — Catalan real ale


We spent yesterday in Tarragona — now a fairly sleepy Spanish city by the sea, but once one of the biggest in the Roman Empire.

Imagine our excitement when, as we were on our way out of town, we saw an advert in a shop window for “Rosita — cervesa artesanal de Tarragona”. That translates, more-or-less, as “Rosita — the craft beer from the Tarragon region”.

We bought two bottles, and asked the helpful shopkeeper where we could try it in a local bar. He sent us to the town square down the street, and before 10 minutes had passed, we were cracking open two cold bottles.

BAILEY: “It’ll be a boring fizzy lager.”

BOAK: “Hmm. Maybe not. I don’t speak Catalan, but I think this says that it’s ‘refermented in the bottle’.”

BAILEY: “It’s bottle-conditioned!?”

BOAK: “It’s also top-fermented!”

And, sure enough, Rosita is a pale, citrusy, slightly cloudy and very hoppy pale ale. It was also only lightly carbonated, and not like fizzy pop. We were impressed. This is a great beer, by any standards, but tasted all the better amidst a sea of bland so-called ‘pilsners’.

We were even more impressed when we tried it with seafood later that evening. The citrus flavours leapt out, and it seemed wonderfully refreshing, without being overpowering.

We’ve often said that we can understand why there’s only boring lager in Spain — the locals wouldn’t go for anything else in that heat — but this wonderful beer shows how to do it.

Rosita’s ingredients are listed as malt, hops, yeast and sugar. Our guess is that there are some American hops, and possibly some English ones too. There’s more info (in Catalan only) on their website.

PS – Tarragona’s worth a stop for the Roman ruins and medieval old town, and also seems to be quite a gastronomical sort of place. We had lunch in a restaurant called (we think) “Cervesera La Nau” on Carrer de la Nau, which had a quite extensive beer list. Tarragona is about an hour away from Barcelona by train.


Hello from our holiday

Two new posts below, with more to follow in the next week or so. We´d like to pretend there´s a good reason we´re not posting more, but actually, it´s because we´re on holiday, very relaxed, and can´t be bothered…

breweries pubs Spain

Barcelona Brew Pub

Blackboard in Barcelona brewpub Beer Nut and several others have been there before us, but we had to try out Barcelona’s two brew-pubs, starting with Cervesera Artesana.

As a place to hang out, it was perfect — lively, but not crowded, and very friendly. And it’s always nice to see the brewing kit on site.

But what about the beer? There were four on tap: wheat, honey, black and “tostada” (brown ale, basically). All four were interesting, and all four were served way too cold. Once they’d warmed up a bit, we were able to taste them better.

Wheat — peculiar, being thin and rather lemony, with an almost lambic quality — but, at the end of the day, quite pleasant and refreshing.

Honey — again, thin, but not unlike various (nondescript) summer ales we’ve had in the UK, without an overpowering honey taste.

Black — now we’re talking — American porter-like, with a massive amount of hop flavour and bitterness. Cascades?

Tostada — the best of the bunch, and the most popular with the regulars. Again, tons of hop aroma and flavour, and a lovely red colour. Not the best beer in the world, but certainly one of the better beers in Spain…

Sadly, the enticing sounding Iberian pale ale (IPA) and Iberian stout weren’t on.


What they think of the English Pt. 1

Screaming monkey, Nimes Natural History Museum

You can’t turn on the TV in the UK these days without seeing a report about binge drinking, accompanied by footage of girls rolling around on the floor; young men fighting; and people vomiting or urinating in public places.

Well, it seems they’ve seen that footage in France, too. We asked for a second 250 ml bottle of beer to accompany our meal in a very nice Chilean restaurant in Nimes and the owner/chef/waiter nodded sagely, before saying sadly: “Yes, I hear you have problems with drinking in London these days.”

Irrelevant photo from the vast cupboard of stuffed monkeys at the Natural History Museum in Nimes.

France Spain

Interruption to your service

Boak is in France. I’m off to join her tomorrow, for three weeks. So, updates might be a bit less frequent than usual.

But don’t despair — we already have a post written for the Session, and we’ve got plenty of ideas for beer-related expeditions and experiments in France and Spain.

And I gather computers and internet connections are now very common on the Continent…