3 Sep 2009

From Barcelona, well, sort of

If I remember well what I was told, Moritz is a historical beer brand from Barcelona. At some point the brewery that made it had to close down and it wasn't until the beginning of this year that the descendants of the former owner were able to resurrect it.

At the moment the beers aren't brewed in Barcelona, but under contract at La Zaragozana. However, I've heard that the owners are about to open a brewpub in their hometown.

I apologise for the vagueness of the information on the brewery. I didn't take notes when I was told the story and the web page is mess of Flash animations that make its navigation a nightmare.

I received samples of the only two beers Moritz seems to be currently brewing.

The fist one I opened was, as it's my custom, the weaker one (5.4%ABV), which is called just Moritz. What sort of beer it is, what is it made of, etc, that's information you will have to seek elsewhere, because you won't find it on the labels (and, unless you are very patient, it won't be easy to find it on the web page, either). Fortunately, the beer had been reviewed in Culturilla Cervecera, where I was able to learn, long after the tasting, that this beer wants to be a Pils, and that is brewed with pale malts and Saaz hops.
It pours palish gold (something expected if you already know what sort of beer it is) with almost no visible carbonation and topped by a nice, white, spongy head. The looks of a well made lager. There's not much the nose can catch, a hint of a malty base and the ghost of a hops blossom. It's light bodied, mild flavoured, with some maltiness and a subtle citrus touch, that's it. Once it gains a bit of temperature, it starts loosing some of its balance and by the end it reminded me of a cheap demi-sec sparkling wine. Not very pleasant, but since most Spaniards prefer to drink their beer tooth-shattering cold, I don't think it will be noticed by many.

A couple of days later I, rather reluctantly, opened the bottle of Moritz Epidor. My experience with pairs of Spanish beers of the same brand had so far been that if I didn't like the paler one, I would like the darker one even less. I wasn't expecting much from this one. How did I know that the beer was darker, if the information on the label is as abundant as for the other beer? Well, the label is darker, so the beer must be as well.
Moritz Epidor pours amber with a nice orange hue, it's topped with a creamy head and plenty of fine bubbles can be seen. The aroma is mild, notes of caramel and fruit and some spice that I wasn't able to identify. It goes in with plenty of burnt sugar and some licorice, which are later joined by some herbs and a touch of tobacco for good measure. The mild caramel finish is short and a nice contrast to the rest. The 7.2%ABV is beautifully integrated, though the bubbles bothered me a little. Epidor was a pretty pleasant surprise, much nicer than its sister. It also reminded me of La Zaragozana Export. Maybe it was because it's made at the same brewery, but I could swear there was a family resemblance.

Putting things in perspective, the balance is positive. I didn't like the pale lager too much, but compared to most pale lagers you can find in Spain, it is a better drink. Epidor, on the other hand, I would put at the same level as other strong Spanish amber lagers like Voll-Damm or the already mentioned Export.

Thanks María and Susana for these beers. Soon I'll be posting about the other ones you brought.

Na Zdraví!

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2 comments:

  1. We thought Moritz was sort of OK. Boring would be the word. How does the darker one compare to the similar-strength Voll Damm?

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  2. I thought the same at the beginning, but I was drinking it while enjoying a nice warm late evening on the terrace with my wife, and it took me longer than it would have otherwise, and by the end the beer had lost much of it balance. I think it should be drunk faster...

    Epidor vs. Voll Damm: It's been more than a year that I had it, but I remember VD to be sweeter. Which of them you'll like better, will depend on your tastes.

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