Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lagers in Spain

Two months has passed since I left Lanzarote, so a report on Spanish beers is long overdue. These days Spring is in the air here in Norway, and the bliss of warm weather and beach life is a memory. So are also Spanish beers, although I can find San Miguel in several supermarkets here at home in Norway. The stronger version, San Miguel Especial, is sold at the stately alcohol outlet Vinmonopolet, and Estrella Damm can be found here and there in shops.

Beers in a Lanzarote supermarket. Here are Spanish beers and international brands.

I did not try (nor find) any Spanish craft beers, so I drank mostly Spanish lagers. They were found more or less everywhere. In Lanzarote the Canarian brands Tropical and Dorada seem to have a large share of the market. Mainland beers where also common, but according to local people the Canarians prefer their own beers to the mainland brands.

Local Canarian lager Tropical from draught.

My favourite Spanish lager was Tropical. It is brewed on Gran Canaria and is commonly found everywhere in Lanzarote. Many restaurants sell this beer from draught, and in shops it can be found in bottles and cans. Tropical is s a pale lager with some malty taste. It is a little bit fizzy, but normally without a big head. This is a great thirst quencher, and I enjoyed it both by the pool, on the beach and on the terrace of my hotel room.

Dorada from tap.

Dorada is also a Canarian brand, but it hails from Tenerife. It is even lighter than Tropical in colour and very watery in taste.

Dorada from can.

There is also little carbonation in this beer, which falls through compared to Tropical. So does also Reina Ora from Gran Canaria. It is more tasty than Dorada with a more malty twist, but all in all both Reina Ora and Dorada are worse alternatives than Tropical.

A half litre of San Miguel as bought in a Chinese restaurant.

Mainland beers were easy to find in Lanzarote. San Miguel is available in several versions. From draught this was a light coloured lager with some carbonation and little head. It was more sugary than the Canarian lagers, and the San Miguel Especial version from bottle and can had an even more sugary feel. San Miguel Especial is stronger in alcohol than its Canarian cousins, and it has an alcohol taste in it as well. My favourite is the San Miguel version with less alcohol. It is tastier, but compared to Tropical the Canarian lager is my favourite.

This glass of Cruzcampo was bought in the mountains of Lanzarote.

Cruzcampo lacked most of the sugary nature of San Miguel. Otherwise this was a pale lager with little taste and medium carbonation. This is a nice beer for warm Summer days, but it fells through compared with other Spanish beers.

Estrella Damm has more in common with San Miguel Especial than the Canarian beers. The sugary tones are very accentuated but it lacks some of the alcohol scents of its mainland relative. Estrella Damm is also maltier, but the combination of tastes in the less alcohol version of San Miguel makes for a better offer.

What to drink, then? And when? On cold Winter nights, I would rather have San Miguel Especial of all these beers. In warm Summer days Tropical is to be preferred. It is Ok from bottles and cans and best from tap. In Lanzarote it costs about 1 Euro from supermarkets. In bars you pay around 2 Euros for a half litre. This is a good price compared to Stella Artois and Carling, which can cost 3 to 5 Euros.

No comments:

Post a Comment