Beer and Pavement

Session #57 – Beery Confessions: Guilty Secrets/Guilty Pleasure Beer

Posted in Beer, The Session, Travelog by SM on November 4, 2011

This month’s session is “Beery Confessions: Guilty Secrets/Guilty Pleasure Beer” which is not the sort of thing budding beer bloggers want to share. We have reps to protect. However, if anything, it should demonstrate that even I will stoop to a lesser beer out of sheer pleasure and not just necessity. I’ll skip the opportunity to tell you about an embarrassing drunken escapade. There are just too many of those to share. Instead, I’ll stick with the guilty pleasure angle.

This past summer, my wife and I traveled to Spain, spending much of our time with a close friend. Spain is not known for great beers, but I had a lot of fun searching out the best. There were fresh pilsners to hold me over and even a few interesting craft finds. Overall, I can’t complain about the beer I had, but there is one beer choice I made on several occassions that I’m not completely proud of.

As most beer nerds do, I checked out the tap handles at every bar, cafe, and restaurant we passed. While in Barcelona, we would often hang out at the cafe just below the apartment we were renting. Like most, smaller establishments, they had two beers on tap from the same brewery: Damm. One tap was reserved for the brewery’s flagship beer, Estrella Damm, while the other was reserved for my new guilty pleasure, Damm Lemon.

Yes. The beer geek who goes for 10% imperial stouts and DIPA’s measuring close to 100 IBU’s chose a shandy. The Damm Lemon (or “damn lemon” as it became known in our circle) was comprised of six parts cervaza to four parts lemon. It was the weekest of session beers in that it was low in alcohol (3.1%) and even lower on anything resembling beer.

My first clue should have been when I finally decided to order a damn lemon. First of all, my Spanish is terrible. I try to piece together what to say, usually pronouncing everything with a French accent. So, I think I asked for a “cervatha de la lemón.” I don’t know whether the girl laughed at my lame attempt at ordering in Spanish or the fact that I was ordering a shandy. Somehow, I suspect both. She corrected me and told me it’s called a “lata” or something that sounded like that. I drank two and recieved the same odd look both times. The second time around made me think that I was choosing a girly drink. Normally, this doesn’t bother me, but my inner-12-year-old cringed at the thought. Although, in retrospect, it may have been more of a case of “Why is this old guy drinking a kid’s beer?”

When our friend arrived in Barcelona, I introduced him to Damm Lemon and he loved it. we made a pact to purchase a sixer one night for dinner. The agreement was realized one evening after a long day of sight-seeing, tapas, and plenty of drinking. We were already a little buzzed. So, some 3% lemonade beer wasn’t going to hurt. We dutifully finished the entire sixer despite tipsiness to start with and what I remember to be a rather decadent dinner of various things soaked in olive oil, bread, lots of pork products, and a boatload of cheese.

I tasted many good things during my trip to Spain, but none could be quite equal the guilty pleasure Damm Lemon turned out to be. We even tried ham-flavored potato chips and that doesn’t seem as guilt-inducing as a shandy. Still, I don’t regret a thing and would likely do it again.

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