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.