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10 Unique Beers at Your Grasp

By Andrew Berlin

Carlsberg beer. A lager in actuality Carlsberg was first brewed in 1847 and is from Copenhagen Denmark where it has enjoyed in it's past a royal warrant meaning it is the beer of choice for the royal families needs. Carlsberg is a very drinkable beer that doesn't bight back. While its not a light beer, and packs a good punch at 5% alcohol, you can still have a few and not feel too full. A good substitute for the Stella Artois drinkers, one might consider it crisper and softer on the tongue. If it's good enough for the king it's good enough for us.

Stella Artois. Also a lager beer, the Stella Artois is noticeably more aromatic yet less bold on the palate. So if it is quantity you seek without being overwhelmed by flavor the Stella is a good choice. This lager has 5% alcohol. Brewed in Belgium since 1926 the company is very proud of its heritage as evident by the logo being surrounded by traditional Flemish architectural style. The Belgians know how to make good beer, so anything Belgian is usually a good choice. Stella is one of the biggest beers of that region of Europe. But as a beer drinker I wonder is this just the Budweiser of Europe? Not even close, and who am I kidding I love Stella. Who doesn't?

Dos Equis is a not typical Mexican beer. I found it to be very aromatic for a Mexican lager and pairs well with lunch appetizers such as guacamole and bean dip.This beer is a good choice if you like corona but want a little more flavor. Dos Equis was first brewed by a German born Mexican and the two XX's represent the coming of the 20th century which loomed ahead its inaugural year, 1897. This beer unlike other Mexican beers does not need a lime. Golden in color and 4.5% alcohol, it comes in a green bottle, which was one of my first unfounded rules in beer drinking; anything in a green bottle is good.

Sol, from Mexico apply named after the sun, is a bright golden colored beer. This beer definitely needs a lime and I couldn't see myself having one of these after the sun went down. It just doesn't have a lot of body, which can be good for a daytime beer to bring to the beach and quench your thirst as its very refreshing, but I wouldn't serve it to guests with dinner. Sol is actually brewed by the same company as Dos Equis but is clearly not as flavorful and has less alcohol at 4%.

Leffe dark. A strong Belgian beer that is actually brewed in the Stella Artois brewery. You could say this beer dates back to 1152 when the monastery in which it was brewed was founded. Leffe dark is a top fermented brown ale with 6.5% alcohol. Not very aromatic but has a sweet nutty flavor. I don't consider this a beach beer but more of a desert or after dinner beer because truth be told I had one and I had my fill. Exceptionally done ale, just not an all day beverage.

Becks. Dry and smelly, whoops I mean "has a strong aroma", Becks is a solid beer with a lot of flavor for those who enjoy the real taste of lager. The brewery was founded in 1873 in Germany and claims to follow the Reinheitsgebot, the German purity law of 1516. Almost indistinguishable from a Heineken, and very drinkable.

Hoegaarden. Some beers you open and you can just tell they are Belgian, this is one of them. Named after the town in which it was first brewed in 1445. Hoegaarden is a wheat beer, which uses wheat as a large portion of their grains for brewing instead of barley. Girls seem to love these kind of beers. They are softer and very flavorful. The beer is 4.9% alcohol and it very bubbly on the tongue. Its a very fine beer pairing well with cheeses, but not an all day drinker.

Paulaner. Another wheat beer or "hefeweizen" hailing from Munich Germany since 1634 named after the monks that originally brewed it. 5.5% alcohol this beer is stronger than the Hoegaarden but lighter in taste. The best way to enjoy a wheat beer like this is with a slice of orange in a glass.Paulaner is a full-bodied beer and comes in a brown bottle. The reasons for brown bottles are to protect the beer from sunlight.Beer with a lot of hops such as this beer are susceptible to be damage by the sun.

Guinness foreign extra stout. Guinness as it is meant to be is normally poured from a draft and served in a pint glass with a creamy head. This Guinness found in central America and parts of the Caribbean is slightly different. For starters its a whopping 7.5% alcohol, the draft version in Dublin is almost half that. A common misbelief is that Guinness is heavy, in actually its only 153 calories per bottle, only 10 calories more than a Beck. Soft palates will be offended by Guinness's robust flavor, good with meats and for anyone who enjoys dark beer, it doesn't get much darker than this.

Toña. From Costa Rica's neighbor Nicaragua, this golden lager is a beer for any occasion. 4.6% alcohol, I'd go for it if I was on a surf trip to Nicaragua but here it's what I may choose when I don't feel like drinking any more Imperial. Its not the best beer in the world and it doesn't claim to be. First brewed in Managua in 1926 Toña is a fairly smooth and balanced beer. Reach for it when you feel like mixing it up a bit.

Types of beer
Lager – coming from the German word meaning storage, a traditional "lagered" beer is done at low temps hovering just above freezing and is bottom fermented meaning the yeasts does its work from the bottom of the barrel up, unlike ales that are top fermented and are not as picky on temperature. Lagers were first brewed and stored in caves in the medieval era. Today a pale lager golden in color is the most widely consumed beer style in the world.

Ale – easier than a lager to produce because it can be brewed in warm temperatures. Ales tend to have more body, darker color, and are top fermented. Ales are brewed faster and tend to be sweeter than a lager. They are known to have more hops, hence a stronger floral aroma.

Reinheitsgebot – translated to "purity order", is a German Beer Purity Law put into place in the year 1516 for reasons of sale, consumption and purity (the Germans take their beer very serious). The law states that the only ingredients in beer can be water, barley, and hops. Many brews abide by the law to this day.

Beer ingredients
Hops – are a flower used for their preservative properties and their aromatic attributes.

Yeast – Used to eat the fermentable sugars in beer and turn them into alcohol.

Malted barley – A grain that is soaked in water then dried. This is called malting. Once malted, the grain contains fermentable sugars in which the yeast can "eat" and turn the sugar into alcohol. Like most of the world's great inventions the process of malting was discovered by mistake. Someone left the grain out in the rain and when it dried it was found to be perfect for brewing

Bars to find good beers in your area

Nosara – The Black Sheep has been a local favorite for years now and Joe the owner has created a pub that puts you in the city of London. Calling The Black Sheep first before you stop by is a must so they have someone to attend to your group and make sure the beer is flowing. One of the very few places in our area that serve beer from the tap, the Black Sheep is a very memorable experience if you can find it! 8928-5752

Samara – Bar and restaurant Lo Q Hay. Translated roughly to a mantra of "it is what it is". Lo Q Hay just opened up and we took a trip to meet the owner Louis who was excited to tell us of his upcoming endeavor to bring draft beer from a nano-brewery in the southern Nicoya peninsula to his bar. Lo Q Hay already serves up all the other favorites and has a great location right on the beach. 8656-0028



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