07 March 2016

Small and far away

Cerveza DouGall's is based in Santander in northern Spain and for the last while its beers have been available in Dunnes. I finally got round to picking up two of the dinky 33cl bottles recently for the knock-down price of €2 each.

First up is Leyenda, an "Extra Special Bitter". Medium orange with a slight haze, it smells classically English, all orange pith and meadowy blossoms. And while that may be the hops at work, the flavour is almost all malt: dry grain and coarse burlap with just a very slight tang of marmalade and a metallic, mineral, aspirin bite, all of which finishes and clears off the palate promptly. The body is surprisingly thin for 5.8% ABV leaving the whole thing a little insipid. Now, given the style designation, it's obviously not meant to be a powerhouse, but I was expecting something rounder and fuller.

I had higher hopes for the pale ale, 942. This is the perfect gold of a highly polished pocketwatch and there's a gentle, but distinct, aroma of sweet tropical fruit: mango and pineapple in particular. It's another thin one, which is a little more excusable at 4.2% ABV but I still feel short-changed by the texture. The flavour is lovely -- fresh fruit, of course, and a mild orange rind bitterness. But there's just not enough of it. I know it's possible to get more fresh juicy hop goodness into a beer, even at this strength. What it is, though, is thirst quenching, refreshing and, crucially, cheap. 942 is the sort of beer you can  keep on hand in the fridge and swig casually when a thirst requires something tasty but unchallenging. You can use the term lawnmover beer, but it's complex enough to be put to other purposes as well. Mind you, when it shares a shelf with Grafters Pale Ale at the same price in a bigger bottle it's beyond my abilities to tell you which you should be buying in bulk.

That's my take on them: for an alternative perspective on both of these, see the recent posts at 5 Minutes of Finney and Irish Beer Snob.