Friday, June 17, 2011

The rain in Spain.

Brewery: Damm S.A.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Name: Estrella Damm
Type: Cerveza Lager. Birra Lager. Lager ya'll!
ABV: 5.2%
When I visited Barcelona a few years ago I was able to enjoy an Estrella Damm in public. At the zoo, actually. How did I manage to get away with this? Valid question. I got it from a vending machine. Yes, there are beer vending machines in Europe. Europe - 1, America - 0. Maybe it was the pure joy I had from dropping 2 Euro into a machine and receiving a beer in return, but I remember this beer tasting better. There is nothing visually stunning about this beer. It's a straw yellow liquid with a thin ring of white foam that is pushed out towards the glass. If you didn't know better you might think that someone dropped an effervescent tablet commonly used to provide relief for various ailments into your glass. It bubbles like a damn fish tank with a ruptured air pump hose! The nose is equally uninspiring. There is no real stand out smell. You find some grain (mostly corn), some hops in the form of citrus, and a nice hint of miasma. The high level of carbonation assaulted my tongue in a way that had me wondering if my taste buds had been aggressively rubbed off. You taste what you smell, unfortunately. I can describe how it tastes in one word: astringent.
It looks like beer?

And now for something completely different!

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing Co.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Name: The Great Pumpkin
Type: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 8.0%
Yes. It's June. Yes. This is a review of a pumpkin ale. No. I'm not crazy. This bomber has been sitting in my fridge since October. I'm willing to bet the ABV had increased some over the past 8 months. I'm not sure what possessed me to open it but I swear it was calling to me from the kitchen. I opened the bottle with reckless abandon, charged up the Flux Capacitor to 1.21 Gigawatts, and went back to the future. Full on copper color here folks. No playing around. It's as if you were to melt the tops of Duracell batteries into a cocktail (please, do not do this). Zero percent chance of a head developing on this beer. "Why bother?" It seems to say. Jump right in, matey. The aroma is deafening. Robust pumpkin pie spices all up in your nose make you believe that it's turkey time and football should be on the TV. Nutmeg and caramel pair up with big malt and some tart/tangy notes in a somewhat forced manner. Notes read: "You got pumpkin pie in my booze!" The classic flavors of pumpkin pie are all there, minus the natural pumpkin flavor. Throw in some tart and slather in alcohol... You've got yourself The Great Pumpkin! The mouthfeel is silky and the higher level of alcohol mixed with the malt makes the top lip a little sticky due to the sugars. Caramel and nutmeg are ever present while an overall spiciness lingers well after the beer has gone down the hatch. A booze and bread mixture rounds out this ale reminding you that it is an imperial after all. In the event that you forgot, which, towards the end of this bottle you might find yourself a little hazy. The best thing? Pumpkin ale is good year round!

Pumpkins are like big apples, right?