Car Bar in Barcelona

I finally found Cat Bar, it’s a small, quaint bar that serves strictly vego meals and has an impressive array of Spanish craft beers. The great thing about it is that there are so few places that serve craft beers in Barcelona, but even less that sell craft beer that’s actually brewed in Spain. So it’s a treat to find somewhere so cosy like this. While eating some bread and hummus, I’ve gone for what I think is the Fort Pale Ale… There’s no label on the tap besides displaying ‘Fort’, so I’m going to hedge my bets on the pale ale. Anyway, It’s the hoppiest beer they’ve got on tap, and it’s cold to combat the heightening heat of the outside world. And when there’s no aircon around, a cold pint sounds like the perfect plan.

Fort Pale Ale

The beer poured an orangey yellow with a thick white head that dissipated quite quickly. With the heat, the glass started to perspire almost as soon as it was put on the table. The aroma was a hoppy mix of pine and citrus fruits. To taste, the beer was unfortunately nothing too special. I’ll say that right away. But to have something other than Spanish lagers, it was a godsend. The flavour is fruity and crisp, being a really refreshing drink for summer days. There are wheaty notes to the Fort too.

So there we have it. A Barcelonian brewed Pale Ale? on a hot day that goes down like anything! Do I recommend it? Maybe not. But it sure beats the plain malt lagers that seem to taunt you everywhere you go.

Cervesa Del Montseny Lupulis

Now that the Fort is finished, I’m still craving some more hops that the Fort just couldn’t suffice. I was looking for something that sends my taste buds into oblivion. Something to make me go ‘holy fuck’. Therefore I’ve got myself a Cervesa Del Montseny Lupulis. Translating to ‘hops’ in Spanish, you’d expect great things from this bottle. Especially seeing as though nothing else in the fridge has any signs of being an IPA, you’d expect at least one. So here’s the Lupulus. This is more of a darker, browny orange than the Fort, being much cloudier and with a big fluffy head with more retention. The aromas for this are quite citric and sharp. I think it was served a bit warmer than normally recommended, what with the older fridge working overtime in the heat. Anyway, it’s got a warm and full flavour to it, with quite a pronounced malty body. There’s a hoppy bitterness there, but for a beer named ‘hops’, you’d expect something with a more defined fruitiness or floralliness from the hops. Instead, this is just a plain bitter hops with no specific flavouring to get those tastebuds excited. So in this case, it’s an OK drink, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

So the verdict of Cat Bar. Give the Fort a go, miss the Montsery, but make sure you give Cat Bar a visit. With all these Spanish craft beers available, you really won’t regret it. RS

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

It’s a Monday night. Now, while that may not seem so amazing to most people - being the first day back at work, with four more days until the weekend - to me it means the neighbor comes over for dinner, we have a roast, crack open a bottle of champagne, and more importantly, DRINK SOME BEER.

The beer in question on this stormy evening is one that’s new to Australia, despite the fact that it’s been out for quite some time over in the US. The Sierra Nevada Hoptimum. About a month ago, I noticed post after post of this beer, showing off the hop headed gentleman proudly sitting in the portrait of the bottle, and the rave reviews taunting me into what could only be described as envy. After a few visits to the International Beer Shop and several queries later, it has finally arrived on the shores of Western Australia. So let’s see what all that fuss was about.

The beer poured a strong translucent golden hue with a small white head, while the aroma gave way to a grassy, piney nose with light fruit and floral hoppy notes in the background. ┬áRight off the bat, the taste had a satisfying warmth and smoothness to it. These flavours lingered until what you’d think was the end, with the hoppy bitterness slowly building to a crescendo, until it suddenly hijacks the flavour, leaving a long bitter finish that seems to last forever. The piney hop notes from the aroma really shine through in the flavour. Towards the middle, the 10.4% seems to prop its head up and help to retain the looonnnngggg lingering flavour, and add to the depth of the body.

I have to say, Sierra Nevada seem to have taken this beer to another level. While I do like Sierra Nevada, there certainly have been some that just haven’t done it for me. If we take a look at the Green Flash beers on the other hand, I’ve been an enormous fan right from the start, and I’m glad to say that this Hoptimum certainly is in the same ballpark when it comes to quality and all-round awesomeness. However, I do have to say that this is not one for the IPA virgins, it is definitely aimed at the more seasoned IPA drinker. The flavour isn’t necessarily intense, it’s just got some big hairy balls that seem to make their way out into the public.

So would I get this again? Fuck yeah. I think I’m going to have to pay IBS another visit within the next week to secure myself another few bottles!