Beer and Food should Compliment Eachother

Pairing beer and food is an individual art form.  Some where between “Budlight goes with everything” and “Budlight isn’t even a beer.” are those who understand complementing flavors. The beer is not to detract from the food and the food is not to detract from the beer. They each have their places.

Whilst there are some general guidelines no two pallets are alike.  The perfect pairing for one may not be the perfect pairing for the next.

So let’s review some general guidelines and then take a look at some suggested pairings.  It gives a novice someplace to begin.

Experts suggest that these three terms will help.  Consider these three words cut, contrast, and compliment.

~ Cut
This refers to beers that cut through some aspect of the food.  For example beer with a lot of acidity cuts away the fatty film left behind by rich foods. To cut the burning sensation of spicy hot food a malty beer with a high alcohol content works even better than water.

~ Contrast
Contrasting is like the one-two punch to the pallet.  Smoked beer and strong cheeses are both very different, but very strong flavors. Fresh raw oysters are often paired with dry Irish-style stout. Again think of contrast, like black and white flavors.  Or another way to remember may be opposites attract.

~ Compliment
Some things just go together like peanut-butter and jelly, bread and butter, and macaroni and cheese.  The flavors melt together to create a whole new sensation. Maybe a mild beer works better with mild food for some.

Let’s let the professionals give us some specific suggestions.

*For foods like stews, shepherds pie, and meats served with lots of think gravy try Porter, or oatmeal stout.

*Looking for something to go with a vegetarian meal? Some good choices would be Dunkelweiss or Wiessbier.

*Amber ale is an excellent beer for any foot that is not sweet.  So have it some with pizza, sandwiches and Mexican food.

*If cheese cake with raspberry sauce in on the menu (lucky you) serve some cream or sweet stout.  These beers are meant to be savored with chocolate and fruit desserts.

The best part of pairing food with beer may be in the experimentation.  The rules do not mean anything if they don’t work for you. However, it would be a shame if you enjoy a good beer and don’t experiment a little and see how it can enhance a meal.  After all, it is a great idea to have a meal be something that is fun, social, filling and fun.

Eating Best Wine Regions in the World

wine_map

One of the best wine regions in the world is undoubtedly the Margaret River region of Western Australia.

However due to its remoteness it is also one of the least recognised regions in the world. When your average wine buyer thinks of Australia they no doubt think of Kangaroos (Yellow Tail) Koalas (Bear Crossing) Fish (Madfish , Barramundi, Fishtail) and various other critters that have turned into huge wine brands over the last 10 years, plus the major representatives of the vast region known as SEA ( South East Australia) such as Lindemans, Rosemount, McWilliams.
In order to find some real gems you need to move away from the big brands, leave the South East and venture way out West.

The Margaret River region is a leisurely 3 and a half hours drive south from Perth, the capital of Western Australia, following the beautiful coastline and rugged countryside route that takes you ”down south”.
The climate in Margaret River is maritime, the winters are cold and wet, the summers are warm and dry with the sea breezes and coastal influence.

Key varietals from this region are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the best Chardonnays in Australia are from the Margaret River region – think Leeuwin Estate Art Series, Vasse Felix Heytesbury, Voyager Estate, Evans & Tate Wildberry Springs. None of these wines are cheap but when you compare them to the great French Chardonnays such as Mersault or Chassagne Montrachet they can stand with their heads held high. This region produces beautiful well balanced Chardonnay not the heavily oaked styles that have previously dominated the market. These Chardonnays win medals and trophies in International Wine shows and are produced by winemakers that have learnt their skills across the world including Europe.

For red wine lovers treat yourself to a great Margaret River Cabernet, compare it to a great Bordeaux, you will be surprised. These wines are not the usual Australian fruit bomb, they are elegant and well structured with fine tannins. The 2004 Thomas Hardy Cabernet just scored 97 points in the 2008 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion the top score for any Australian Cabernet and it hails from Margaret River.
Some other stunning Cabernets currently on the market are, if you are lucky enough to find them, Evans & Tate The Reserve Cabernet 2003, Howard Park 2004 Cabernet, Capel Vale 2005 Cabernet.

Go on treat yourself and explore the fabulous Margaret River Region W.A

A look at different Types of Hops

Today, hops are used in almost every style of beer. Hops, the female cones of the humulus lupulus plant are used to provide flavor, aromas, and bitterness. How much of each depends on what kind of beer is being made. A European lager for example will have a fairly minimal hop presence compared to an English bitter or India Pale Ale. Today, hops are used so extensively it’s hard to imagine a time when hops had no place in beer at all.

Initially, a variety of herbs and flowers were used to balance beer’s sweetness. Juniper, heather, pine needles, dandelion, and bog myrtle are among the plants commonly used in beer’s production. These herbs were gradually abandoned when brewers discovered that hops protected against spoilage. Hops made their way into beer first in Germany in the 13th century, followed by Holland around 1400. However, hops didn’t make their way to England until the early 1500s and it was a hundred years before they made their way here to the colonies.

Today, hops used in the brewing process can be divided into two categories bittering and aroma. Using hops in is all about extracting their oils during the boil before yeast is added to ferment the beer. The oils providing flavor and aroma are fairly volatile so those hops only get added during the last couple minutes of the boil. Any longer than that and they boil away. Bittering hops on the other hand need to be in the boil for 60-90 minutes to extract bitterness.

I’ve put together a list of bittering and finishing hops used commercially and by home brewers. If you want to use hops for flavor rather than aroma, use the finishing hops and put them in 5 minutes before the end of the boil rather than the 2-3 minutes if you’re using hops for aroma.

1) Brewer’s Gold

Grown in the UK and the U.S. Brewer’s offers poor aroma and sharp bitterness. Often used for ales. Brewer’s Gold has 8-9% Alpha acid. Substitute Bullion, Northern Brewer or Galena. Best used for bitterness rather than flavor and aroma.

2) Centennial

Grown in the U.S. Centennial offers spicy, floral, citrus aromas and clean bitterness. Centennial can be used for bitterness or aroma. Centennial is often used for American IPAs. This variety of hop offers 9-11% alpha acid. If you can’t get Centennial, Cascade or Columbus can be used in its place.

3) Challenger

A British hop offering strong, spicy aromas. Classic hop for use in English Bitters. Challenger also offers crisp, clean bitterness. As such Challenger can be used either to provide bitterness or aroma to your beer. Alpha acids come in at 6-8%. If you can’t find Challenger try Progress.

4) Chinook

American hop with a heavily spicy aroma and strong bitterness. Chinook’s bitterness can be cloying if used in large quantities. Chinook can provide aroma but with 12-14% alpha acids you’re more likely to use it for bitterness. Chinook is also used to make American IPAs. Substitute Galena, Eroica, Brewer’s Gold, Nugget, or Bullion if you can’t find Chinook.

5) Northern Brewer

Grown mostly in the UK, U.S., Germany. Northern Brewer offers a fine, fragrant aroma with dry, clean bitterness. Northern Brewer can be used for bitterness or aroma. This hop can be used for many kinds of ale, sort of a general purpose bittering or aroma hop. Alpha acids come in around 7-8%.

6) Nugget

Nugget is grown predominantly in the U.S. and offers heavy, spicy, herbal aroma. Because it has 12-14% alpha acids, Nugget is used mostly for bittering. However, it can be used as a finishing hop either on its own or with other varieties. Substitute Galena, Chinook, or Cluster.

7) Perle

Hailing from Germany and the U.S. Perle has a pleasant aroma. Bitterness is slightly spicy and according to some, almost minty. Perle is a general purpose hop used in many lagers. Alpha acids are 7-9%. Substitute Northern Brewer, Cluster, or Tettnanger.

8) East Kent Goldings

Grown in the UK, this hop offers spicy, floral, earthy, rounded, mild aromas and gently spicy flavors. Kent Goldings are used for bitterness, as a finishing hop and for dry hopping in many British styles. Alpha acids are at 4.5-7% so you may use this hop for aroma or bitterness. As a note for American home brewers, you’ll probably see hops listed just as Goldings when you go to the supply shop. These are what you’ll be looking for.

9) Fuggles.

Fuggles are grown in many parts of the world but come mostly from Britain and the U.S. Aromas are mild, soft, and grassy. Because this variety only offers 3.5-5.5% alpha acids, Fuggles is used predominantly as a finishing hop for ales and lagers. Substitute Goldings, Willamette, or Styrian if you can’t find your Fuggle.

10) Hallertauer Mittelfruh

As you might guess from the name, this hop hails from Germany. It offers pleasant, spicy, noble, mild herbal aromas. Predominantly used as a finishing hop for lagers. Alpha acids are only 3-5% so you’re not likely to use it for bitterness. Substitute Hallertauer Hersbruck, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Crystal, or Ultra.

11) Northdown

Northdown is similar to Northern Brewer. Northdown has better flavor and aromas, though. Northdown offers crisp, clean bitterness. With Alpha Acids coming in at 7-8% Northdown is a general purpose bittering hop. But with heavier ales, it can be used for flavor and aroma. If you can’t find Northdown use Target

12) Mt. Hood

An American hop from the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Hood is one of three hops first bred as replacements for Hallertauer Mittelfruh. Aroma is clean and mild. Alpha acid can range anywhere from 3-8%. Mt. Hood is used mostly as a finishing hop and goes nicely in German lagers. Substitute Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Hallertauer hersbrucker, Liberty,
Tettnang, or Ultra.

Beer Reviews Hoegaarden Grand Cru

hoega

The town of Hoegaarden, east of Brussels, is situated in the centre of wheat growing country and at one time had more than 30 breweries producing the local wheat beer. The last brewery closed in the 1950s as traditional beers were being replaced by lagers, but around ten years later Pierre Celis revived the style. The brewery was a huge success and was acquired by Interbrew in the 1980s.

Based in Brussels, Interbrew is one of the oldest, and largest, beer companies in the world with breweries in 20 countries and its products being sold in more than 120 countries. it is responsible for such diverse beers as: Becks, Boddingtons, Leffe, Rolling Rock and Stella Artois

Witbier is a Belgian Wheat beer – meaning that it’s a beer brewed using at least 25% of wheat malts. Belgian wheat beers are different from German, or indeed British and American wheat beers, in that they’re fruitier, with a slight lemony touch. This is because of their use of coriander seeds, orange peels and other spices to flavour the beer.

It pours to a hazy, slightly cloudy, pale yellowish-orange colour with a luxurious head comprised of masses of tightly packed, tiny bubbles. This all leads to a mass of lacing on the glass that stays right to the very end. The aromas are of a gentle spiciness combined with a ripe tropical fruit (banana, pineapple etc.) Also present are medicinal-like phenols, a mild vine-fruit aroma, and of course orange.

It’s medium bodied with a lively carbonation and a viscous mouthfeel. Again, the suggestion of tropical fruit imposes itself in the flavour with pineapple being the most dominant. There’s a lot of yeast flavour giving a somewhat nutty impression, and a mass of complex spicy tones, especially coriander and cloves, backed up by the sharpness of the citric curacao peel. The hops are really only there for balance, giving just a very slight floral note. The finish is dry but still has lots of lingering fruity flavour while the aftertaste has a hint of vanilla and a light spiciness.

At 8.7% ABV, this a is a quality beer and one to savour and enjoy. It’s very similar to the more ordinary Hoegaarden but it tastes better, it’s a little bit darker and much stronger. I read somewhere that the Grand Cru is similar to how the original Hoegaarden used to be before becoming more commercialized – makes sense.

This is a very complex beer with lots of different aromas and flavours to savour and not really a beer to enjoy with a bar lunch – although you can if you want. No, this is for gently sipping on a balmy summer evening after a scorcher of a day. I’ve marked down three days in July for that very purpose.

Best Pies to take to a Party

During the Christmas holiday season, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the  activities surrounding the season.  There are so many special events that only occur this time of the year, and you don’t want to miss even one.  Add in the time it takes to shop for family and friends and your schedule quickly fills to overflowing.

When asked to bring a pie to a Christmas party, there are some choices you can make that will allow you to bake up some crowd pleasing items without blowing your budget or your schedule.

At a party, guests want to taste a little bit of everything.  The round shape of traditional pie doesn’t lend itself to small two-or-three bite-sized pieces, so consider making pies that can be made in a square or rectangle pan and cut in squares.  This recipe works well and will hold up to traveling across town or across the country.

Derby Pie – made in 9X13 pan

Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
1. Stir eggs with mixer on medium until creamy.
2. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter mixing until smooth.
3. Add flour, continuing to mix until smooth.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Pour in to 9X13″ pan with crust (it will be thick).
5. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
6. Cool completely on wire rack.
7. Cut into 2 inch squares.

Suggestions for presentation:
*Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
*Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
*Dust with powdered sugar and top with a red raspberrry.

Another unique way to take pie to a Christmas party is empanadas.  These delicious hand-held pies can be made with simple ingredients, are easy to prepare, can be stored easily, travel well and with some creative presentation it will be the star of the dessert table.  Chocolate lovers will go crazy for the chocolate banana empanada and the fresh berry pie will be a hit with fruit pie lovers.

Ingredients
Chocolate banana filling:
4 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

*Pie crust (see below)

Preparation:
Mash the bananas, sugar, and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl until creamy, but not completely smooth – you should still have pieces of banana chunks. Spoon a generous tablespoon of the banana filling on the empanada pastry circles and stick a piece of chocolate on top.

Fresh berry filling:
1 cup blackberries
1 cup  strawberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup goat cheese (can substitute cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
*Pie crust (see below)

Preparation
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Scoop heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center of each dough circle.

*This is where the short-cut comes in.  You can certainly make your own pie crust, but frozen pie crust will work just as well for these luscious handheld  pies.

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2.  Unroll 2 refrigerated pie crusts onto a flat surface.
3.  Using round cookie cutter, make circles in the dough (4 circles per crust).
4.  Scoop heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center of each dough circle.
5.  Fold over and pinch around the edges of each section to seal. (crimp with a fork to ensure they are completely sealed)
6.  Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and make slits in the top of each to allow steam to escape.
7.  Brush with egg wash (2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp water)
8.  Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
9.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool.

After arranging on a platter, drizzle each empanada with chocolate syrup or dust with powdered sugar. Makes 8 servings.

If you are really pressed for time, make use of canned pie fillings which are available in many flavors. If you use canned fruit pie filling, try to scoop out mostly fruit so the epanadas aren’t too soupy.  Christmastime should be enjoyed with family and friends celebrating and having fun; don’t get bogged down in the kitchen with complicated recipes.

Eating Best way to Share a Restaurant Check with others

Restaurant

It’s not uncommon when people go out to eat that they prefer to split the check so that no one gets stuck paying the whole bill.  That eliminates the competitiveness and resentment of people simultaneously offering to pay while hoping someone else outfights them for the check.  But what is the best way to divide a restaurant bill?  Here are some possibilities:

1.  Separate checks

From the standpoint of the customers, this is certainly the easiest, most accurate way to make sure everyone pays for all and only what they had.

However, anyone who has worked in restaurants will tell you that creating separate checks adds considerable work for the server.  At many restaurants it’s not even allowed, or is not allowed for parties above a certain size.

So understand that when you ask for separate checks, you’re making the server’s job more difficult.  This means that if you’re a considerate person, you should either, a) not do it, or, b) increase what you would have tipped by an amount commensurate with the added inconvenience.

Still, if you can get separate checks, it certainly solves the problem.  But try to do it only if you’re a fairly small party, the server is not very busy, it is not contrary to the restaurant’s policy, and you let the server know at the beginning of the meal rather than the end.

2.  Divide the check equally

If you’re not going to get separate checks, the next easiest method is simply to have everyone pay an equal share.  If five people are dining, each pays 20% of the total.

The obvious drawback to this is it’s unlikely everyone ordered items of the exact same price, so some will be paying more than they should, and others less.

But really this is probably too petty and insignificant to worry about as long as it’s at least reasonably close.  If one person had a $17.95 entrée and another person had a $19.95 entrée, is the one really getting over on the other if they throw an equal amount of money in the pot?

If there are more substantial differences than that, then it’s fine to deviate from strict equality and adjust the numbers in an approximate way to account for it.  For instance, if the bill for five people is $100, normally you could just pay $20 each and be done with it.  But what if the five people ate roughly the same amount, however four of them had multiple drinks, and the fifth is a teetotaler who just had water?  In that case it’s perfectly reasonable to have the one person pay, say, $12, and for the remaining four to split up the other $88 equally and pay $22 each.

3.  Figure out each person’s share precisely

It can be a lot of bother, but if you don’t mind doing it, and everyone is agreed that it’s really the only fair way to proceed, it can certainly be done.

A calculator helps, as does something to take notes with.  Just assign each item to the person who ordered and ate it (splitting shared items appropriately), and total up the figures.  Don’t forget to include tax.  Then make sure the totals taken together add up to the total on the check (give or take a few cents).  After the check’s correctly divided up, people still have to put in for the tip of course.

As a final note, how or even whether to split up a restaurant check is a lot more of a cultural thing than one might realize.

I remember an occasion when I and a group of friends grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant after a marathon poker session.  At the close of the meal, someone said something like “How much do I owe?” or “How are we splitting this?”  The whole table groaned.  One of my friends said, “What are we, a bunch of little old ladies having lunch after church?”  In his eyes, this notion of splitting the check just wasn’t a “guy” thing to do.  The norm is for someone to pay the whole thing, with future such meals being paid for by others until it works out to be roughly even.  So a kind of informal rotation.

So social custom plays a big role in whether to divide up a check.  In some situations it’s allowed, if not expected, that you’ll split up a check a certain way, while in another situation it would be totally out of line.  (Comparable to the way in some dating situations a male is a sexist cad if he tries to pay the whole check, whereas in other dating situations he’s a hopelessly cheap loser if he doesn’t.)

Best Ways to Defrost a Chicken

FROZEN-CHICKEN

Defining the best ways to defrost a chicken must take account above all of food safety. Chicken which is not defrosted properly prior to being cooked can be extremely dangerous to one’s health and it is therefore vital that this scenario be avoided.

The absolute best way to defrost a chicken is slowly in the refrigerator. A small chicken will defrost in this fashion in around twenty-four hours but a bigger bird may very well take twice that length of time. It is imperative therefore that sufficient time be allowed for this process to occur.

It is very likely that the chicken will have been bought frozen and is sealed in some form of plastic wrapping. This wrapping should be loosened but may be used to cover the defrosting chicken. The chicken should then be placed in to a large tray and on to the very bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This is to ensure that any liquid which may escape the chicken and spill from the tray does not contaminate any other food which is present in the refrigerator. Depending upon the size of the chicken and the size and depth of the tray, it may prove necessary to empty the tray of the defrosting water and juices, once or twice during the defrosting period.

If perhaps one forgets to remove the chicken from the deep freeze in sufficient time to defrost it in this fashion in the refrigerator, there are two other options which can be explored. What one should never do is allow the chicken to sit out and defrost at room temperature, even covered, as this can lead to it becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria.

The first alternative one may consider to defrost a chicken is by submerging it in cold water. This will allow it to defrost in around half the time that it would have taken in the refrigerator. One will clearly require a very large basin, pot or bowl and will require to ensure that the whole chicken is submerged at all times. Changing the water every few hours is also a good idea.

In an emergency, it is possible to defrost a chicken in the microwave. This should be done per the microwave manufacturer’s instructions and only immediately prior to the chicken being cooked. Defrosting a chicken in this way and then failing to begin cooking it immediately afterward can again lead to problems with bacteria.

The best ways to defrost a chicken therefore afford three very different alternatives but where time can possibly be made to permit, the refrigerator option should always be the one selected.

Beer Reviews St Pauli Girl

St. Pauli Girl is an export only lager style beer brewed at the Beck’s Brewery in Bremen, Germany. The primary export market for St. Pauli Girl is the US, and today, it is reportedly one of the leading-selling German beers on the American market.

The beer’s original brewery, which was founded in the 17th century, was supposedly built on the site of a monastery named in honor of St. Paul, which gives the beer the first part of its name. The St. Pauli “Girl” was invented in the 19th century with the advent of bottling beer. The brewery needed a symbol to emblazon its bottles and the image of a barmaid was selected.

There has been some controversy concerning the St. Pauli Girl “girl.” The original girl in St. Pauli Girl was more of an homage to the hard-working girls who worked in pubs and beer gardens throughout Germany, whereas today, the Girl is essentially nothing more than a pin-up model. Six recent Girls have been featured in Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month. Some believe that this crass form of promotion belittles the beer.

Which brings us to the beer. Due to the less than sophisticated manner in which St. Pauli Girl is advertised and the fact that the beer is basically brewed exclusively for the American market, the actual quality of the beer has been belittled. And, in my opinion, unfairly so.

First of all, it should be understood that St. Pauli Girl is brewed in accordance with the “Reinheitsgebot.” Which is the German Purity Law that was set down in 1516 and has been the guiding force behind German brewing ever since. So there are none of the questionable ingredients, such as rice or corn, added to St. Pauli Girl. It is a pure German beer that uses two-row spring barley, and the highly regarded Hallertau hops from Bavaria.

In regards to my personal empirical experience, I see a nicely golden beer without a trace of yellow that is common in many pilsner style lagers. I can get a healthy white head when pouring from a bottle, and it contains a good amount of carbonation. The head is able to sustain itself, providing a nice lacing around the glass. It’s a smooth tasting beer with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness. It’s an easy to drink beer where the bitter qualities do not overwhelm the taste of the actual beer.

Best Cheap Meats to Buy

erie-meats

Some of the best cheap cuts of meat are among the most tasty. Most family menus are geared toward the less expensive cuts of meat. The less costly cuts of meat usually take more time to prepare and require a longer period of cooking time. Budget cuts of meat are often tender when they have been stewed, casseroled, braised or boiled but they often benefit from being cooked with plenty of seasoning or herbs. Cheaper cuts of meat tend to have some fat running through them, this fat renders and produces the base for a very flavorsome gravy.

Minced beef is possibly one of the all time favorite cheaper cuts of meat. Do remember that the cheapest minced beef is not always the best. It may be false economy to buy cheap minced beef that contains a high percentage of fat. Minced beef is so versatile. The average family on a tight budget can enjoy a rich lasagne, a tasty Shepherds pie, a spicy Chilli, meatballs and many more nutritious dishes besides.

Do not rule out the less expensive roasting joints such as boned and rolled shoulder of pork. This cheaper joint of pork roasts well, tastes fabulous and cooks tender. Buy a piece of leg of pork and the family budget may feel stretched, purchase a boned and rolled shoulder joint and it is one joint that is very affordable.

Likewise pot roasts make a tasty winter meal that cost far less than a topside or silverside of beef roasting joint. Buy a piece of beef brisket and pot roast it along with seasonal root vegetables. You can purchase brisket boned and rolled but if the beef brisket is pot roasted with the bone in then it enhances the flavor of the dish.

Cheaper cuts of meat such as offal are an acquired taste. A liver and bacon casserole makes a warming meal but not everyone likes the stronger taste of the liver. Stuffed lambs hearts are not a costly meal but again they would not appeal to many.

Casseroles and stews are good rich meals that are packed with nutrition. Cheaper cuts of beef can be stewed or casseroled. Chuck steak is a safe bet and stewing steak costs less but tastes good. As long as these cheaper cuts of meat are prepared and cooked as they should be then the family will enjoy their budget meals. Rich casseroles can be served with rice, potato or chunks of warm crusty bread.

Beer Reviews Ak Damm 1876

AKDamm

AK Damm 1876 was produced to celebrate the founding of the Damm brewery in (wait for it) 1876 in Barcelona by a guy called Augustus Kuentzmann. Yes, you guessed right, he wasn’t a native of Catalan, but an expat from Alsace. He decided to brew a type of beer he was familiar with, but the locals weren’t. And so a legend was born…or at the very least, an uninteresting story.

These days, the Damm brewery produce a modest range of different beers, the most famous being Estrella Damm and Voll Damm, but here’s what they say about AK Damm:

“Pure malt from selected varieties and hops from the German Hallertau region give this beer its smooth personality.”

This beer pours a deep golden colour with masses of tiny bubbles rising to form a huge, rocky head of pure white foam which, with great reluctance, hangs around to the very end and coats the glass with liberal amounts of sticky lace.

The aroma has a deep malt tone with some bready dough and hints of biscuit. There’s a good hop presence there too with earthy, grassy notes and a sheaf or two of mown hay.

It’s full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and an initial sweet taste. It soon turn bitter though, with a hefty slice of citrus tang and a little hint of fruit. The flavour seems to bounce between bitter ans sweet with a strong sense of pale malt appearing midway, and a rich crunchy feel, almost like oatmeal. The finish is dry, bitter and sharp with a clean and refreshing aftertaste.

At 4.8% ABV, I liked this. It’s very ale-like for a lager, and not overly carbonated which makes it slip down a treat. There’s nothing thin or wishy-washy about it  though – it’s a very satisfying and filling beer. I’d say that it compares really favourably to most other Spanish beers, although it was a little more expensive than the run-of-the-mill brews. Having said that, I think that it was worth the extra few eurocents I paid.

I can’t say I’ve seen this beer in the wider world (although, to be fair, I haven’t looked all that hard), but it was pretty easy to come by in the Barcelona area (bit of a trek for a quick pint, but if you’re there anyway…). All in all, a very nice beer.

Would I drink it again? – Damm straight!