The start of summer grilling season is here and cooking over a fire is thirsty work so make sure you have plenty of refreshing Spanish and Portuguese beer on hand. Beer makes a wonderful accompaniment to cooking, even if you have plans to drink wine with the meal (when visiting the Bodegas in Spain the winemakers always say “Before we try the wines, would you like a beer?”). We have a new reach-in refrigerator in Berkeley so now we are keeping all the beer cold and ready to drink. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
Sagres is the most popular beer in Portugal. This lager style beer is refreshing and crisp. It features predominantly at the various Portuguese festas that take place all across California in the summer and is almost mandatory if you are grilling up some fresh sardines in the Portuguese style. Available in 6 packs of glass bottles or single half liter cans.
Catalunya’s largest brewery, Damm, recently released a new beer designed by Chef Ferran Adria and his team of sommeliers from El Bulli restaurant. The end result of two years of experimentation is Estrella Damm Inedit. Made in a style resembling Belgian wit beers or one of our domestic hefeweizen wheat beers, Inedit is a cloudy amber color with creamy texture and yeasty flavor adding context to lightly spicy notes of citrus peel, coriander and clove. Craft brew lovers will appreciate this unique style of Spanish beer sold in full sized 750 ml bottles.
Daura is the gluten free version of Estrella Damm. This golden lager style beer, made with barley instead of wheat, is crisp and refreshing. It currently holds the title of “best gluten free beer in the world”. Try it with your favorite tapas for a refreshing taste of Catalunya. 4 packs of 11.2 oz bottles.
Here at The Spanish Table in Berkeley we are all very excited for oh-so-many reasons.
Yes, Spain is playing in the final of the World Cup this Sunday. Even though some of us here have no Spanish ancestry, everyone at The Spanish Table is proud of the Spanish culture we represent (are all sports heroes Spanish these days? Nadal. Contador. Gasol. The list grows by the day).
Another exciting thing happening here (and this ties into the World Cup in a big way for those who plan to watch and, hopefully, celebrate) is our growing assortment of Spanish beer. We just received several new brands of Spanish Cerveza that we are happy to announce today. Check out our newest Spanish brews as well as a few trusty favorites and come stock up for Sunday. Fandom is such thirsty work.
This once proud brewer in Barcelona was shuttered for decades before the descendants of the original Moritz family re-launched this brand in 2004. Now it is featured all across Barcelona and is one of my favorite forms of refreshment when I am in that very beer-centric town. This foamy lager style beer is crisp and hoppy with a lightly bitter finish that adds a bit of distinct style to this Catalan brew. $12.99/6 pack
Estrella Damm Daura The biggest brewer in Catalunya is Estrella Damm and they have recently come out with this gluten-free version of their most popular beer. Made with barley malt, this golden lager with a bit of corn-like flavor has twice been twice awarded as “best gluten-free beer” at the World Beer Awards. Spanish Table Berkeley employee and resident gluten-free expert Andre Ferreira has been buying it all up but we restocked for the big game this weekend so there should be enough for everyone. $8.99/4pack
Estrella Damm Inedit The new beer from Estrella Damm designed by Ferran Adria and the crew from El Bulli is back in stock. This Belgian style Wit beer is cloudy amber in color with a clove/nutmeg spiciness to give it distinct character. This special beer comes in a 750 ml bottle with a full color brochure attached to the neck that suggests serving it in a wine glass and storing it in an ice bucket while drinking. $10.99/750 ml
Estrella Damm The BBOC (Big Beer of Catalunya), this popular lager is fast becoming our number one selling Spanish brew. Frothy golden refreshment with a touch of sweetness and a crisp finish is what you get from Estrella Damm. It is showing up in bars and restaurants around town and is now also available in 6 packs for home use.
$9.99 /6 pack
Alhambra From Granada in southern Spain, this refreshing lager will be familiar to anyone who has travelled in that part of the world. This foamy golden beer will certainly do what beer does best which is to refresh the drinker on a hot day. Crisp, malty goodness.
Vino de Aguja
For years we have searched in vain for the lightly spritzy white wine called Blanc Pescador that has livened up countless Spanish beach parties. They call it “Vino de Aguja” (needle wine) for its prickly effervescence. Now, in answer to our wishes we have just received not only the traditional Blanc Pescador but also the rosado version called Cresta Rosa and the afrutado (lightly sweet) version called Cresta Azul. These wines just arrived today so they are not yet available on-line but we will add them to the web site soon. Meanwhile, I want to let you know that they are here (and all priced at $9.99 per bottle) just in case your plans for this weekend include any type of celebration with a Spanish theme.
The weather is warm, the Labor Day weekend is upon us, Cal is back in session, everybody but you and me has run off to the dessert for Burning Man and the Bay Bridge is closing for three days. Pick the reason that best suits your purpose but it all boils down to this: it’s Beer O’Clock in Berkeley.
After years of my constant whining about the lack of beer from Spain and Portugal, the local distributors have conspired to shut me up by supplying some really great beers that I now offer to you.
This week we have brought in all the beer we could find from Spain and Portugal (and one from Argentina too!). They are conveniently stacked up tall in the middle of the store and will surely add a new and unique level of refreshment to your weekend plans.
We have a few well known major brands that will be familiar to many of you. We also now carry a few more esoteric brews including a new version of Barcelona’s best selling beer designed by none less than Chef Ferrán Adriá from elBulli. We also just received a unique and delicious barrel aged red ale from Argentina. Additionally, we have re-stocked our Basque hard apple cider, now available in the oh-so-cute half bottle size as well as the traditional 750ml bottles.
Of course we continue to bring in new, interesting wines including numerous red, white and rosado wines that will refresh your palate and awaken your appetite on a warm evening, but, as they always say to me when I visit the bodegas in Spain, “before we try the wines, would you like a beer?”
Estrella Galicia While Spain has many excellent beers, this well known (in Spain) lager from Galicia was, for many years, the only Spanish beer available here in California. Blond color, yeasty aroma and crisp flavor are just what you want after a hot day. $10.99 (6 pack)
Estrella Damm For those who have visited Barcelona, this beer will be very familiar to you and will rekindle fond memories of that Catalan metropolis. This crisp, lager style beer is now in good supply here in the USA and makes a perfect addition to a Spanish themed party or meal. $10.99 (6 pack)
Estrella Damm Inedit Celebrated chef Ferrán Adriá from elBulli teamed up with Estrella Damm to create this distinctive Spanish beer. The attractive 750 ml bottle comes with a little booklet tied to the neck explaining the concept (“The beer specifically created to pair with food.”) and offering serving suggestions (“It is recommended that Inedit is enjoyed in a white wine glass and kept in an ice bucket after serving.”). A hybrid of a traditional lager and a Belgian style Wit beer, this cloudy amber colored brew is fairly crisp on the front end with notes of orange peel and baking spice (cloves, nutmeg and allspice) on the finish. A bit of hoppy density adds interest and will appeal to appreciators of local microbrews. $10.99 (750 ml bottle)
Barbaroja Red Ale In the Argentine town of Escobar, 50 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, Cerveceria Barba Roja makes a wide range of craft brews. They make a special barrel aged “strong” (so named due to it’s 9% ABV) red ale that we just started carrying here. Opaque, reddish brown color, aromas of black coffee and wood smoke, and bold but balanced flavors of toasted malt and caramel. A champagne style cork seals this 750 ml bottle of oh-so-food friendly red ale. This is really interesting and deserves your attention. $12.99 (750 ml)
Sagres In Portugal, this is a major brand. Sagres is served everywhere. This classic lager style brew is crisp, light, slightly fruity and perfect on a hot evening. $7.99 (6 pack)
Sagres Bohemia This dark beer from Sagres starts off crisp and hoppy. The toasted, malty richness comes on quickly and adds a bit of black coffee-ish flavor to the beer. $7.99 (6 pack)
Super Bock Not actually a ‘bock’ beer, this popular Portuguese lager (technically a malt liquor due to the 5.6% alcohol by volume) is light blond color with clean corn flavor and light hoppy finish. Serve this cold on a hot day and taste it at its best. $7.99 (6 pack)
In northern Spain, where the cool moist climate is not always conducive to grape growing, the local drink of choice is hard apple cider. In the bars of San Sebastian they pour sidra from the bottle held high overhead in an outstretched arm into wide glass tumblers. At the local sidrerias the Sagardo (cider in Basque) streams straight from large wooden kegs and accompanies a meal of fried salt cod with peppers and onions, huge bone-in ribeye steaks and walnuts and cheese for dessert. The meal is consumed standing up to facilitate frequent trips back and forth from the barrel room. From time to time a staffer will yell “Txotx!” and everyone lines up to get another glass of cider.
Experience the Basque hard cider tradition at home with Isastegi Sidra Natural. This is not sweet apple juice. Cloudy green gold in color with yeasty apple barrel aroma and tart, fino sherry-like flavor are what you will find here. Once opened this cider oxidizes rapidly so the bottle needs to be consumed quickly (not usually a problem). We now carry the half sized bottles which are great for small groups or when cider is served as an apperitivo before moving on to other drinks (for the full-bore Isastegi experience we also carry the traditional glassware, just like they use in Spain).
$8.99 (750 ml)
$4.99 (375 ml)