Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Estrella Damm Inedit

You don't often hear about beers from Spain.  Spain, along with much of Southern Europe is far better known for its winemaking than its beer drinking.  Historically, this stems from the Mediterranean region's warmer climates, which were more ideal for growing grapes than hops.  However, we're starting to see some more experimental and hand craftd beers coming out of places like Italy and Spain, and we owe the historic winemaking countries at least the decency of drinking their beer. 

The Witbier, or White Ale as it's also known, is a wheat beer with a cloudy appearance that first appeared around the eleventh century.  Wit means white, which comes from the color and cloudy appearance of the beer.  It was one of the first beer styles brewed with hops although ironically today most versions let hops take a back seat to flavors like orange and coriander.  The style has enjoyed immense success in many countries and with multiple variations.  There are different variations of light and dark witbiers, but most often you'll find them on the paler side like this one.  In that case, what you're looking for is notes of orange and corriander with a creamy texture and maybe a slightly acidic finish. 

Having poured Senor Estrella here, I see it has a pale straw appearance with just a hint of cloudiness.  Head retention is fairly decent, although I'm not seeing a lot of lacing at the moment.  A lot of orange in the aroma mixed with some other spices, sort of a freshness to it.  There's a slight funk going on here where it should be floral, hard to tell what it is; nothing as strong as a lambic, but there's something a little out of character.  Not much carbonation, which would help to make it a bit creamier, however, otherwise the body is alright..

Tonight I'm pairing this with some Thai food from Bangkok West, which is all wrong, but obviously I didn't have time to plan this one out.  Ideal pairings would be something lighter that won't overpower the light body and flavors of this beer; think seafood like mussels and salmon, or chicken and game hen in the bird world.

While the flavors are all in the right place, there's something missing that should be bridging them a little better.  The orange, while very strong, finishes a little watery letting the hop acids strike where there should be more a little more body and richness of flavor.  This means the bitterness is abandoned a little bit naked and cold in the wind and what you're left with is a weak citrus flavor.  Overall, this beer just doesn't pack enough of a punch to really leave a mark. However, if you're still interested in trying it I've seen it popping up all over town.  You can find it's fancy starred bottle at Umami Burger, West 4th and Jane, BevMo, The Bazaar on La Cienaga, Santino's Tapas Wine bar on Lincoln, and the liquor store at Ocean Park and 28th.

Estrella Damm Inedit: **

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