Palma Beer Diary – 2018
So, I’m off to Palma for the Beer Palma beer festival and the chance to sample a lot of the local brews in one place. Now, you might think it’s a long way to go for a couple of days at a beer festival, but if you went to the CAMRA one in London, it would take nearly as long and the total cost would be more. Anyway, it’s work, honest.
Day 1 – Monday
I fly from Leeds/Bradford on Monday morning and the flight proves to be quite entertaining. Some lads from Halifax who are travelling to Mallorca – they have no idea whereabouts – have met up with a couple of girls looking forward to a few days in “Magga”. They want to sit together, so I gallantly offer to move, but really I have an ulterior motive – it means I get the window seat! The driver, arriving late, had apparently slewed his car up on the airport forecourt and left it, resigned to it being towed away. I am tempted to suggest it may be the subject of a controlled explosion, but think better of it. They begin the holiday on board with a good few drinks. The volume gets higher and the language more choice, but it’s all good-natured. One of the boys makes a quip to which the girl retorts, “Hey, I was born with these teeth!”. She does indeed have a lovely set of gnashers, but I can’t help reflecting that she must have been an odd-looking baby.
Once in Palma, I get off the bus on Passieg Mallorca and it’s a few minutes walk to Hostal Pons. This time, I’m on the top floor. It’s a bit of a climb, but the advantage is that it’s very quiet and the roof-top shower and toilet (bit quirky, yes) next door are virtually ensuite.
From the hotel, it’s only another few minutes to Parc de la Mar, where the beer festival is being held. Could hardly be more convenient. One really couldn’t wish for a better setting – the cathedral on one side and the Med on the other. Tokens are sold in advance at €1 each and the drinks, apart from the strongest, are three tokens for a 33cl glass. Most of the local beers would normally only be found in bottles, but for the event, they are all on draught.
There are a lot of mainland beers and very tempting some of them are, but one can only drink so much (even a seasoned aficionado of my calibre) and my remit is to sample the local brews, so this is what I commence to do. They are all good and typical of the “craft beer” genre, though, to be scrupulously honest, some are a tad boring, whilst others stand out – more on my favourites later.
From Cas Cerveser, I try a Galilea Golden Ale and a really nice Galilea Red Ale. At Beer Lovers, I try a Blat witbier and Bram amber ale. Forastera have hit on the brilliant idea of serving four smaller measures for €4, thus enabling one to try the whole range. Today I have Zulena, Paul Amber Ale, named after the family’s pet dog, Mallorca Pale Ale, and Another F***ing IPA, so named because the brewer was fed up with people continually asking, “Can you brew another IPA?”!
From Ralf, I have their Tuareg pale ale and from Toutatis, La Fruiteé Belgian style ale.
Most of the representatives speak very good English and there are signs, flyers and even beer names in English, but I do notice a couple of things that have got somewhat lost in translation. Toutatis have a blackboard saying, “Pleased to Beer You!”, whilst Cas Cerveser has a cartoon sheep going “Beeer!”
At 5pm, the sun on the back of my neck is becoming uncomfortable, but by 7pm, the wind blowing off the sea is really cold, so I decide to seek the comfort of a restaurant.
I am keen to try the tasting menu at the eponymously named Adrián Quetglas on Passeig Mallorca, but when I get there, I discover that it’s closed on Mondays (should have checked), so I decide to try Jaime III, a few doors away. When I order the Randemar Tinto, from one of Mallorca’s vineyards, I’m expecting a bottle, but the waitress brings a glass, so I decide it’s probably better. I can always have another, which I do. So, to start, a serving of mixed croquettes and then, for the main, rack of lamb with a green crust, potatoes with Mahón cheese, and a red wine reduction. May not be quite the gastronomic experience I was hoping for, but it’s very good.