The Carouser‘s resident latina Daniela ventures back home to see if the South American water makes beer taste different.
Beer is something that I have recently started getting into, it started with trying a few pale ales, then a few blonde beers until I was brave enough to go the whole way. I have to say, it is definitively an acquired taste and I find myself curious to try more. In Argentina, besides the wine, there is a big beer culture. Recently, there has been a huge boom in artisan beers popping up all over the country. So why not sample some of the beers on offer?
Barba Roja Pale Ale – Diabla
I begin my journey with a Pale Ale, which tends to be my favourite out of all the ales and lagers. This artisan beer, with a pirate and a red beard at the front, has a very dark amber colour and not very foamy at all. It is a bit bitter and the after taste reminds me of a mixture of toasted barley and drinking the left over juice from black olives. Not convinced but drinkable.
Barba Roja Stout – Negra Fuerte
Within the brand of Barba Roja there are also about 15 other types of ales and stouts, so I decide why not try a stout. Not being a huge fan of stouts I am sort of apprehensive but I proceed to drink. As I open the can, the smell is pretty strong and I immediately regret picking it up. However, I am pleasantly surprised- it is much lighter than other stouts I have tried before and it’s not very bitter. In fact, I can smell and taste hints of plumb with a toasty after taste. Not too bad.
Peñon del Aguila – Oktoberfest
I try out some beers from Peñon del Aguila. It’s another brewery much like Barba Roja which has about 10 different types of beers. For this one I decide to try a more bog standard beer and I go for the Oktoberfest recipe. The beer is just as I expected- standard looking and standard tasting beer. It is slightly darker than normal beers but you can hardly tell the difference. It is on the lighter scale of beer consistency and slightly less bitter but over all nothing special to report. Next.
Peñon del Aguila – Honigbier de Miel
Right, so honey beer sounds good right? Maybe it is just me but I am excited to try this one out. As I pour a glass of this beer I am surprised at how foamy it is compared to all the others I’ve had. However after a few minutes the foam goes down and it becomes almost a flat beer. It is very light in colour. Honigbier de Miel is easy to drink and after a few gulps of it you can start getting a honey after taste but by no means is it a sweet beer.
Patagonia – Küne Pale Ale
OK, so let’s try another pale ale. This one is far paler than previous one and it is very fizzy in comparison. It has a sweeter smell and reminds me more of the likes of a cider, however it doesn’t taste like a cider. It’s less bitter than other beers but it is not exactly sweet and not very beer tasting- it’s hard to put my finger on it. I suppose the combination of different malts and special fermentation gives it unique taste and appearance.
Me Echo La Burra
This one has a particularly funny name, which roughly translated to ‘I throw the female donkey’ and with that name I just had to try it. This is an artisan Argentinian beer brewed exactly like a typical Belgian beer. It’s not a very bitter beer although it does have hints of citrus- very summery and easy to drink. It is overall a full bodied beer with a cloud and light coloured appearance. Nothing like a cold bottle meeting your lips on a hot summer’s day to quench that thrust. Probably my favourite one so far.
Federal Cerveceria Indepedient – Honey Blond Ale
During my quest to find different types of Argentinian beers, I stumbled upon this small little place that looked like someone’s house turned into a bar. Behind the bar, there are huge metallic barrels and, guess what, they brew their own beer. Tempted by the Honey Blond Ale, I had to give it a go. I am not impressed though, the first taste is of vomit but not the food kind- the alcoholic vomit type. After you get past the initial horrifying taste, it becomes easier to drink. It is not too heavy and it is not too bitter. It isn’t however very honey tasting.
I decided to leave this one till last. The better internationally known beer from Argentina Quilmes can be found in several London bars. I decide to try it again in Argentina for comparison. Having tried it many moons ago, I am surprised with the taste. It is far lighter in colour, weaker and not as bitter. It seems that since the brand was bought by Brazilian company and exported more widely the beer has become lighter and more watered down – perhaps to broaden the market. Out of all the beer so far it is by far the foamiest, giving you a big head when you pour it.