Estrella Galicia es malo
Can you think of a single beer from Spain? I couldn't. Not only had I never had one, I couldn't even name one. I grabbed a six pack off the import shelf that I'd never heard of, and noticed it was from Spain. I began to think about the lack of Spanish beers. Surely, there must be some -- I just couldn't remember. It's a big wine country, but the climate is perfect for downing ice cold lagers; they must have them around. I did a quick online check. None of the supposedly popular cervezas that were listed rang a bell. Odd. Then I cracked open a bottle of Estrella Galicea and it all became clear. If this sample was any indication, Spaniards make awful beer.
Estrella Galicia is apparently one of the more popular beers of Spain. I'm hoping that's just because it's cheap and plentiful there. It's brewed by Hijos de Rivera in La Coruna, who claim on the bottle that Spain is one of Europe's leading beer brewing countries. Yes. Right behind all the rest of them, apparently. Maybe it's best if they just stick to the vino, and leave the beer brewing to northern Europe.
It's pretty unusual to find a god-awful lager. Lagers aren't typically dolled up with complex flavors. They're meant to be simple, crisp and cold. Something to slake a thirst on a hot day. Most are at least drinkable. But, of course, some are better than others. Some are meant to be enjoyed rather than just bought. The United States churns out oceans of tasteless lager from the big macro-breweries for people more interested in buying beer than drinking it. About the best that can be said for Estrella Galicea is it's not much worse than any of that.
In fact, it looks and smells like the typical macro brew. Golden, with a quickly fading white head, and only a faint aroma. The flavor is as thin as water. Maybe some corn and straw. A meager hint of lemon and a touch of mint are about the only things that set it apart from a Budweiser. All this comes off a bit metallic tasting, though. The hops give it a proper crisp finish, but it's not a beer you want to savor. It's too bland for anyone who wants taste, but what taste there is will put off everyone else.
Estrella Galicia will go about as innocuously with your meal as any typical domestic swill. I'd stay with cheap bar food, though, and only then if the bar is out of water. Anything better than stale nachos deserves a better beverage. If you don't want to think about the beer -- just want to chug as many as you can get down your neck -- this lager would be acceptable for that. The alcohol level is a tame 5.5 percent. I suspect it's popular with budget conscious college students in Spain. But we already have plenty of bad domestic lagers of our own; I can't see any reason to pay an import price for a Spanish one.
Spaniards must realize they don't brew very good beer. After all, Claras are popular there. These are made by mixing their atrocious beer with a bit of tonic water in order to get it down. If a beer requires any extra ingredients to be drinkable, it's rubbish and shouldn't be tolerated. Estrella Galicea is a poor lager. I hope Spain brews better beer than this, but I won't go out of my way to try the next one. If you can find a deal on a case of this stuff, and are just looking to get plowed, I'd say fine. But, if you care about what you're drinking, even if you happen to be in Spain, drink something else.