I suggested we brew again, and Alberto loves the idea.
Here's the thing about Mateo & Bernabé. First, Alberto is a good brewer - and by my standards he's making some of the best beers in Spain. Before he became a pro-brewer, he was a pro-chef. So he knows taste, balance, and nuance. We need more people with his skills making beer. Second, they have a very functional and efficient brew system. They get awesome efficiency (sugar production from grains), and there's no surprises. I calculate a recipe and the only concern that crosses my my mind is it might be too strong.
But too strong is anything but a concern when Alberto says in an email, "Let's do something radical like an American Double IPA." No, seriously - an American Double IPA in Spain just isn't (or, hadn't been) done. So I reply, "Are you sure? An American DIPA will be 9% alcohol or more, and 100 IBU, with huge late additions of hops. What % ABV and IBU do you want?" Alberto answers "10% ABV and 100IBU." I LOLed - seriously, I laughed out loud when I read his response. First, because Alberto's got some big brass brewers balls to bring a beer so huge to the Spanish Market. And second, because I get to help bring the first truly American West Coast DIPA to Spain. All the Double IPAs I have tried there are more like English Barley Wines than American DIPAs.
Then Alberto says, "Let's make two beers." First we discuss a Belgian Quad aged in Pedro Ximénez Sherry Barrels - which would be Godly - but he can't get the Belgian Candi Syrup we need to do it right in time for brew day. So I ask him to send me his inventory. I review it and suggest a White IPA with locally grown hops for mild bittering, and American IPA styled flavor and aroma hops. Alberto gives it the thumbs up. So the second beer will be a WIPA.
Now we're talking! Two hop flavor and aroma forward, bleeding edge beer styles that have not yet been done right (by my experience) in Spain. Time to show budding craft beer consumers - they call them "frikis" - in Spain what hops are all about. Not bitterness - I'm talking flavors and aromas. Hop bursting - big late hop additions, and huge dry hop additions. American Northwest hops supported by designer hops like Simcoe and some fruity delicious New Zealand hops.
Both the Double IPA and the White IPA will be an awakening for the Spanish craft beer market. And they would be great beers in the US market. Unfortunate for us, we may not see them imported to the US. At least not the first batch. So in consolation, I offer some photos of the brew day.
We were joined by Dom of Drinking Spanish - who was also a chef before being seduced by craft beer - and is studying for a Beer Sommelier certification.