Alhambra Mezquita – The Review

mezI was bought this as a birthday present from a mate of mine who has visited Lunya in Manchester. Apparently it’s a restaurant and bar, but, more importantly for me, it also has a shop, so foodies and ‘drinkies’ alike can take home a small slice/drop of Spain.

I was lucky enough to be given a few bottles, all of which I’ll probably review them at some point, but today I’ll start with this abbey-style offering [yes, it’s not just Belgium that has abbeys!]. It is described as “Ideal for high quality beer lovers” – so let’s test that!

Vital Stats:

  • 7.2% ABV
  • Brewed in Cordoba, Spain
  • Superior red ale style
  • Comes in 330ml bottles

Look Darker than I expected. A bright, chestnut colour. Glassy and clear with a loose head. Looks delicious enough! 7/10

Aroma Well it practically jumped out the bottle; oaky dryness and dried wheat mix with subtle fruits and a hint of hops. Didn’t distinguish itself as terribly exciting, but it certainly had power. 7/10

Taste Very much led by the malts. You get the dry huskiness mingling with nutty flavours, which makes me think it was oak aged, but I can’t find any info to back this up… Anyway, there’s a light caramel note, leading into a bit of raisin and a touch of spice. There’s also a buttered toast element going on, so plenty to appreciate. Despite its refreshing, fizzy mouthfeel, there’s no mistaking its high alcohol content with the brandy-like warmth of it. Very long finish, which is groovy. 8/10

Value It was a present for me, so should get 10/10, but I’ve seen it online for £2.09. Especially for a beer of this strength, that’s not bloody bad. For the experience, too, it’s pretty good. 8/10

Session Obviously it was never really brewed to be a session ale, in fact they recommend it to be drunk in winter, or, if in summer, as a long drink. I couldn’t manage more than one of these in succession. It’s a heavy taste, which, when combined with the very long finish, makes it one to savour toward the end of the night. The high alcohol took its toll quickly too! 4/10

In summary, this is well worth a go for those that like barrel-aged beers, or big, higher-alcohol beverages, but not one with mass appeal ‘to try at all costs’. It has a lot more depth than some I’ve had, although there’s plenty of comparable bottles [some Innis and Gunn beers, McEwan’s Export to name a couple] if you can’t find this one.

Final score: 70/100

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