Friday, December 2, 2011

Beer in Argentina - Beagle Fuegian Stout and La Loggia Imperial Stout

Beagle Stout 7.8%
A beer to make Darwin proud!

I had a blasty blast on Stout Day. What a perfect excuse to go to the store, make friends with the owner, talk about beer and buy beers I have never tried before. Sorry for buying all this beer, honey. It was Stout Day. What could I do?

I had no such statutory excuse this time around. I just wanted to try these beers. I know I very much enjoy the Berlina Foreign Stout, but what will I think of these other black beauties? Only one way to find out. By the way, all these beers came from Bodega Cervecero, (Thames 1716, Palermo Soho)

Beagle seems to be one of the owner's favourite breweries and La Loggia is the winner of the South Beer Cup gold medal. Ever hear that expression “someone ought to give that guy a medal”? Sometimes it really happens!

BEAGLE, Ushuaia, Patagonia
Fuegian Stout

First off, tip of the hat to a great brewery name. I have nothing against naming the beer after your town, province, or mother but that hardly requires imagination.

The Beagle is the name of Sir Charles Darwin’s boat. It may not be the most famous boat name ever, but Darwin ranks as having one of the most famous boat trips of all time. As it happens, Darwin spent some time in Patagonia on his way to the Galapagos. The boat features prominently on the beer label and a t shirt my mother-in-law gave me. This beer is just one more thing we can thank Charles Darwin for.*

I also like how they named their beer a Fuegian Stout. This is a nod to their location in Tierra Del Fuego which is pretty much the end of the earth.

This beer is bottle conditioned. It has a very nice, glass-clinging head. The aroma is a cross between caramel and sugary burnt toast. The body is very smooth, has a nice density to it that quickly parts and hits you with a roasty/burnt flavour. As I go I get a very interesting roast chili pepper flavour. No, not a gross cooked vegetable character. This is a roasted, spicy, vaguely woody flavour like an extremely mild version of flavour I've come across in better examples of chili beers and roasted peppers on the parilla.

I rate this beer as Very Nice, verging on Awesome. I actually liked it better then the next beer, though both were excellent.

South Beer Cup Medal Winner
LA LOGGIATortuguitas, Zona Norte de Buenos Aires*
Imperial Stout 11%

Much blacker than Beagle and a much darker head -- sort of a very deep copper/brown colour that wasn't picked up will in the photo. Has a mocha, chocolate, burnt coffee aroma. Body is surprisingly not so heavy. It has a nice amount of vicousness but nothing too heavy or intense. Perhaps the high alcohol content is lightening things up a bit. You get cutting bit of alcohol, burnt malt and a slow, drawn out ashy finish. Finish is a bit astringent and dries the mouth.

A bit of the yeast sediment breaks off into the bottle despite pouring carefully. There is a fair bit of yeast, but it mostly stays stuck.

This beer is extremely well balanced for an 11% brew. You would suspect…put you’d never quite know!

I also rate this beer as Very Nice, verging on Awesome. It really was great, but I just couldn't pull the trigger on Awesome this time. This beer is more complex and potent, and certainly more interesting than the Beagle.  It really is a touch call to say what one is better. I based my choice on the fact that I wanted a second Beagle when I was done. Drinking the Loggia the next day I was quite fine with having one. Chalk that up to the fact it is more potent, but if I am forced to choose I side on "more-ishness" and choose Beagle.

How can you look at this and not smile?
Tasting notes on the Back Label
* Unfortunately, this beer is not enough to entirely counterblance the unfortunate side-effect of Darwin's legacy that is Social Darwinism also known as heartlessness.
**La Loggia used to be called Montecristo. The name change must have been fairly recent because I still see Montecristo bottles floating around at some bars. 

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