24 September 2015

Weird Spain

Or perhaps "Creative Spain" would have been a better title. Two beers from the east of the country today, both making use of out-of-the-ordinary ingredients.

You have to know how most of the world pronounces IPA to get the pun in Espiga's Papr'IPA. It's 7% ABV and I found it on tap in Alfie Byrne's. The colour is a clear red, atypical for an IPA perhaps, but there's no mistaking the paprika in the aroma, all smoky and earthy. And, unsurprisingly, this is very prominent in the flavour. There's a slightly plasticky element to it but it's not artificial, with a genuine green chilli skin character. And eepa? Yes! There's a proper grapefruit bite underneath the pepperiness. It's a fun beer with big flavours and delivers everything it promises.

This bottle of Er Boquerón I've had sitting at the back of the fridge for a long time. I wasn't expecting much of it, which is probably how it got forgotten. The gimmick here is the use of seawater in the brew, for health reasons, apparently, but it turned out to be nothing like the salty beer style of the moment, Leipzig gose. It's more subtle than that, maybe even boring. The salt is little more than a mild spritz in the aroma and a tang at the back of the flavour. Otherwise for the most part it's a simple and refreshing blonde ale, with some slight yeast-derived spices leaning it towards witbier. At 4.8% ABV it's a perfectly decent sunny day thirst-quencher, but no more than that.

Connoisseurs of beery weirdness won't find much to impress them in Er Boquerón, but smoked chilli IPA is something to look out for if the whole concept isn't too scary in the first place.

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