27 Apr 2009

At least their wines are good

After the debacle that was Super Bock Stout (one of the best examples of the style called "Marketing Stout"), I wasn't looking forward much to the rest of the beers that Nuno brought me from his native Portugal. But beer blogging can't be all about delectable and rare Danish craft beers, and they were taking way too much space in my cellar.

Saying that my expectations were very low wouldn't be the whole truth. I was ready for the worst, and I must say I wasn't dissapointed.

Super Bock Express (4.9%ABV). My tasting notes consist of only one word: "Nasty". Isn't it nice sometimes to be able to drink a beer so easy to describe?. Express to the drain it went.
Cerveja Sagres (5.0%ABV). My notes say "A bit better (should say "a bit less awful"), also metallic taste (now you have some more information about Express)". As the previous one, to the drain.
Sagres Bohemia Reserva 1835. A pretentious one. "The supreme realisation of our brew masters", says the label on the back. Hmmm! Either they stop with the bollocks or they start looking for new brew masters, because if this beer is the best they can brew, I can't imagine what can come out when they aren't putting too much of an effort (well, yes, I can imagine, and actually tasted it a bit before). "Irresistible taste", says the label on the frent. The drain didn't resist, so it must be partly true.
Cerveja Super Bock - Sabor Auténtico. Another wonder of tasting notes succinctness: Nastier. Nice head. I'd love to know what they mean with "Authentic Taste".
I had to take a few days off to forget the awful taste of these beers. I still had two, both Super Bock "de Abadía" (Abbey).

There aren't that many "Abbey Beers" that are actually brewed by monks at a monastery. However, most abbey beers have at least some sort of historical link to a religious order or building. My knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church in Portugal is patchy at best, but I think it is safe to assume that there has never been a religious order called "The Super Bock Brothers" nor a monastery or church dedicated to "St. Super Bock" (though maybe the Vatican could consider something like this as a marketing strategy). Therefore, I think you'll agree with me if I say that Super Bock "Abbey" does not have any sacred origins.

But as I always say, the important thing is what's in the glass, the rest si more or less superfluous.

Abadía Super Bock (6.4%ABV): Amber, generous head. Caramel, burnt sugar, metal (I found metallic notes in all these beers, maybe tin foil is their secret ingredient). Caramel, some fruit, dry finish with too much sugar (surprise, no metal)
Super Bock Abadía Gold (6.8%ABV). Golden. Tired fruit and caramel. Fruit in syrup, burnt caramel, sugar and (guess what?) metal.
These two, which claim to have "Craft Recipe" (meaning not brewed with "other malted and unmalted cereals") were the only ones I was able to finish. I hate to throw beer away, no matter how awful it might be, but these portuguese ones left me no choice. It was either them or my sanity.

I wonder if they are the best Portugal can offer beerwise. I'm sure there are better ones, but if I ever go to Portugal, I think I'll stick with the wine.

Na Zdraví!

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

5 comments:

  1. I remember many years ago being on holiday in Portugal with friends, and having little choice other than Super Bock. We would wake in the morning with what we described as "a bad dose of the Bock". The Long Island Iced Teas were tastier (and safer) :)

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  2. Hi Max,

    Next time I will bring you a bottle of Porto :)

    In terms of beer, there is not much more...you just tried about 90% of all beers made in Portugal

    And have to admit, after 1 year in the Czech Rep (and a 1 week holiday in Belgium/Flanders), our beer is crap

    thank god we still have the wine :)

    Saúde !

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  3. After being in the Czech Republic for a couple of times, I have to agree that Czech beer is way better than the ones made in our tiny little Portugal.

    A little correction to Nuno's statement... Besides Super Bock and Sagres (they have a market share of 90%, that's true!), there are some more brands here in Portugal, like Cintra, Imperial, Coral, Topázio, Cristal and Tagus. Of course that I can say that if you didn't like Super Bock, you will probably find the other ones a little bit nasty too. The only exception may be Topázio, wich is brewed by a small family company from the City of Coimbra and you just can't find it anywhere else in the country, not even in big supremarkets or licquor "cash n' carry's".

    Taking in consideration that your taste should be used to bohemian beer, I think that, probably, the only one that would macth your taste a little bit should be Tagus. It's quite unpopular here in Portugal, people don't seem to like it, not even a little bit, because it tastes different from all the others.

    One you should try is Cristal Preta, a stout brand from the previously mentioned Cristal. It's actually the only "black" beer (that's how we call it here in Portugal) that I can drink.

    Next time I go to Prague, i'll take you one of those for consideration!

    P.S. - By the way, I really enjoyed your blog! There's one question I would like to ask you... that guy Nuno you told us about... could it be Nuno Oliveira, from Guimarães, by any chance? The thing is that I do have a friend called Nuno that works and lives in Prague and he really is just the guy that would take Portuguese beer abroad... like taking bananas to Africa!

    Big hug and keep up the good work with your blog!

    Manuel Aspinall a.k.a. Benedictus

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  4. Mistake:

    My friend's name is Nuno Viera, not Nuno Oliveira...that's what happens when you know too many Nuno's...

    Only after I left the comment early this afternoon, I realized that you also have it on "Castelhano"! Already linked your blog, so count me in more often!

    Cheers and um abraço!

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  5. Ha! And if it was Nuno Oliveira, I am pretty sure there are quite a few people with the same name.

    My taste is used to Bohemian lagers, of course, but it is very open to whatever sort of beer that is well brewed.

    Anyway, it is good to know that those waters up there aren't the only the only thing a beer lover can hope to drink in Portugal....

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