I’ve been in Lima a few days, and last night I went out for some beers with my cousin. We ended up at the Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar on Manuel Bonilla Street in the Miraflores district.
I’ve mentioned Nuevo Mundo’s taproom before. As always the beer selection was good, but what made the night even better was running into José Alberto Castro, who was playing music at the venue.
Castro is a fellow beer aficionado and blogger, who writes at tomandoaltura.com. He was probably Peru’s first beer blogger, and his beer reviews in particular are one of the reference points on the local brewing scene. I highly recommend reading his blog.
I’m in Peru! But, along the way, I had a brief layover in Panama, where I picked up a can of Panamá Classic Lager.
Panamá Classic Lager is a 4.4% abv American light lager. As such it had the relative dearth of body, flavor, bitterness and aroma that is typical American light lagers – but it did have more of all of those than, say, Budweiser, which is one of the exemplars of the style. That could be because, unlike many of its American counterparts, Panamá Classic Lager does not contain any rice or other adjunct grains or sugars, being made from only malted barley, hops, yeast, and, of course, water.
The beer was well-made. Being so light in all respects, they style does not allow for any errors. I did not detect any off flavors, and the aluminum packaging prevented any “skunking” from exposure to light.
The beer was indeed refreshing to drink. While that might not mean much in the damp cool of a Lima winter, I imagine would be great in the tropical Panamanian heat. My only complaint is that it had very poor head retention. The foam collapsed almost immediately, which allowed the brew’s already light aroma to dissipate that much faster.
I’ve just received news of this worthy event to benefit the public libraries in Sonoma County:
The Sonoma County Public Library Foundation invites you to a fundraiser for our library system. Get a chance to experience the Santa Rosa Central Library at night with a beer in hand. The new Director of the Sonoma County Library, Ann Hammond, will give her vision of the future of the library system. We will share exciting projects the Foundation is funding and innovative new ideas from Library staff, including an electric piano, blender bike, and more! Come play the piano; ride the bike; enjoy drinks from Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Russian River, and Golden State Cider; nibble some delicious appetizers from A La Heart Catering, and enjoy your local public library. We’ll see you there!
On my recent visit to Durham, North Carolina, Fullsteam Brewery was one of my obligatory stops.
The brewery is located in a slightly decayed area near downtown Durham, that likely due to the availability of empty real estate, has found new life as a hub of the local food and drink scene. It’s hard not to suspect that the presence of Fullsteam and of a well-liked BBQ joint nextdoor has had a big hand in that.
Fullsteam’s public area is divided into three spaces: a front area, as soon as one walks in off the street through the barn door; a larger area with more seating and a small stage; and the space where the bar itself is located. All three are comfortable, friendly spaces, accented with quirky post-industrial touches such as a wall of dials, library card catalog cabinets, and other odds and ends. Behind a glass wall at the back, one can view the brewery proper, with its assortment of fermenters and the brewhouse with which Fullsteam pumps put 8,000 bbl a year.
I first encountered Fullsteam Brewery on a visit to Durham, NC, in 2016. I sat down at the bar, and as I had limited time, I told the server I had time for only one or two, and asked him to serve me the beer he thought I should not walk out without having tried. He started to go into the usual “Well, what do you like drink?” exchange, but stopped himself and served me a bottle of First Frost Foraged Persimmon Ale. Thus began my love for Fullsteam.
Every Fall, Fullsteam’s network of foragers fans out and gathers ripe persimmons, which the brewery then processes and freezes. That fruit is then used to produce the following year’s First Frost, a complex, fruit-forward 13% abv ale fermented with Canadian and Belgian Abbey yeasts, Crystal and Magnum hops, and Belgian candy sugar. It is, frankly, one of my absolute favorite beers.
The rest of the brewery’s lineup are no slouches, either. Featuring ingredients such as North Carolina barley and sorghum, local berries, paw paws, hickory shells, and chocolate and coffee from local purveyors, those brews reflect Fullsteam’s mission to create beers that evoke and celebrate the farms and produce of the South.
Extra Extra Double Brut India Pale Ale was one of the beers that I brought back from North Carolina.
It is not made in North Carolina -or maybe it is? Stillwater Artisanal is an itinerant brewing operation. In a variant of the contract-brewing model, Stillwater -headquartered in Baltimore- rents out unutilized brewing and fermentation space from bricks-and-mortar breweries. Stillwater’s brewers then travel to those locations in order to brew, whether it be in the United States or even other countries.
Extra Extra is a pretty beer. It is a beautiful yellow, golden color, with straw notes. It is hazy but not opaque, and not thick or “juicy”-looking. Upon pouring it produces a finger or two of white head, composed of myriads of small bubbles.
In the nose, I got a pleasantly fruital aroma, with notes of white grape, guava and mango. The fruital character continues in the flavour. I addition to more notes of white grape, I got Meyer lemon zest and conifer. It is moderately bitter for an IPA, specially a double IPA.
Though it is not as dry nor as effervescent as other examples -perhaps from being a double- it is still pretty light despite having 8% abv. Very drinkable indeed.