It did not take too long in Madrid to find a bar for a few beers, as it turns out a new beer bar had opened fairly recently right opposite our hotel.
The bar was the Tap Station, setup by well-known macro beer behemoth San Miguel.
It is interesting to see macro brewers getting in on the taproom craze, producing special beers available in such establishments, and judging from the swanky rustic-chic décor in this taproom, no expense had been spared!
I went up to the bar and the chap in front of me was ordering a paddle of 5 beers, so I decided to follow suit. My wife is well aware I now demand at least one paddle of beer per holiday!
My Spanish was a little rusty (una cerveza is about as good as it gets), so there were a few crossed wires as I was trying to explain where we were sitting and that we had already ordered to about 4 different staff.
Lots of arm waving and ‘trying’ different phrases later I obtained the paddle, a small tapa and was charged a very reasonable 8 euros for the privilege.
I was actually very surprised in the quality of the beers, which showcased San Miguel’s ‘cerve city’ beer range, brewed with speciality malts and yeasts.
The beers seemed fresh, well made and were interesting to taste alongside each other.
San Miguel Cerve City paddle tasting:
- San Miguel Cerve City Munich, Dunkel (5.3%)
I really enjoyed this. It’s not a style I see too often, but I liked the coffee notes coming through. The wife hated it, but no surprise there.
- San Miguel Cerve City Delhi, American IPA (6.2%)
The most disappointing of the beers. Not very hoppy at all with some faint floral notes. Probably a good introduction for those who are maybe coming into hops from mainstream lager.
- San Miguel Cerve City Brujas, Strong Belgian Ale (7.6%)
Can taste that unmistakable Belgian beer yeast here with a caramel hint too. Not the best Belgian ale ever but reasonable.
- San Miguel Cerve City Dorchester, Doppelbock (9.1%)
A good strong but smooth beer this. I had to make sure I got some before the wife knocked the whole taster back. Too drinkable!
- San Miguel Cerve City Manilla, Blond Ale (6.4%)
This was closest to San Miguel in flavour, but a bit fresher.
Overall, some very interesting, well made beer, with minimal hopping. It’s especially useful to help understand what different malting can do to a beers flavour.