So I recently jetted off on another holiday in Spain, for a week of complaining about the heat and abusing the all-inclusive.

Despite a last-minute panic about whether Ryanair were going to cancel our flight home, we made it back to these rainy shores without major incident.


Last time we visited, we had a day-trip to Barcelona and visited the fabulous BierCab, which is a true emporium of craft beer wonderment, but this time – as we were forgoing the trip into the city – I decided to see what beer I could find in the local tourist towns.

We were staying in Santa Susanna, so as you’ll find elsewhere in Spain, Estrella Damm dominates. It isn’t a terrible beer, and anything tastes better in the sunshine, but it isn’t what I’d usually choose to drink. So I thought I’d see firstly what other offerings the same brewery churns out.

In a local liquor store I found Bock Damm (a German Dunkel-style dark ale), Voll Damm (a stronger version of Estrella) and Damm Lemon (essentially a radler). The Voll Damm was around 7.5%, and you could certainly taste the alcohol. I wasn’t incredibly enamoured.


Next, I popped to the local Carrefour supermarket and finally located some true craft ales. These are all by Barcelona Craft Beer Company, which seems to be a local equivalent of Brewdog in terms of size and distribution, as they seem fairly widely available in larger supermarkets.

Here I have their La Bella Lola (a frankly delicious blonde ale), their ‘Barcelona’ pale ale, and Piquenbauer ginger wheat beer. Apparently this is named after a Barcelona footballer, but someone else had to point this out to me, as my interest in football couldn’t be more negligible.

But I wanted more, and I’d done my research.

On Tripadvisor I’d looked around the local area for anything which appeared to be an authentic Spanish craft beer bar and I hit the jackpot when I discovered Bocattan. This was over in the next town, Pineda De Mar, so we set off on a 45 minute walk down the beach from Santa Susanna.


Now, we quickly discovered that it was located in a fairly Spanish area of a fairly Spanish town. It certainly wasn’t a bar visited often by tourists. When we arrived not long after opening, we were the only people there, and the owner spoke little to no English. (This is of course not a complaint, it is entirely my fault for being an ignorant English tourist.) But we communicated in the universal language of beer, and what fabulous beer it was. The owner clearly knew his stuff.

I started off with a Catalan IPA by Tibidabo Brewing (I get the impression the owner prefers to stock Catalan beers over Spanish ones, a debate which should gain promenance in a couple of weeks as Catalonia attempts to hold an independence referendum declared illegal by Spain). This IPA was delicious, quite dark and malty, miles ahead of any other Spanish beers I’d tried.

Next up was Timmermans Faro on keg, a sweet Belgian lambic which I’d had from a bottle a couple of years ago, but this was far superior and only around 3 a glass. I think by this point the owner got the impression I wasn’t new to these kinds of beers. In something of a first for me, he was also offering 60/40 lambic and IPA mixes (I’m assuming this was the Faro mixed with one of the Catalan beers) which was a great idea.

I finished off with the Dry and Bitter’s “Dank and Juicy” IPA, which is a beer I’d been looking for back home for a while, and as soon as I spotted it in the fridge I knew I had to give it a go. As expected it was delicious, hazy and fruity. I then stumbled out of the bar onto the beach, to walk back to the resort as the sun went down on the beachfront.



Foreign holidays are always tricky for us craft beer enthusiasts who balk at drinking lager for a week, but if I have any advice for anyone looking for good beer on a Spanish all-inclusive, do your research and hope you get lucky like I did!



“Mild” has always been a word I’d heard muttered in something of a disdainful manner in the context of beer. Whilst the rumors of it being the primary target of unscrupulous pub owners wishing to recycle the drip-trays back into the barrels are somewhat overblown (though from what I’ve read it certainly did happen) mild seems to have obtained an unfair reputation as a tasteless, uninspiring ale. As a result, despite being one of the oldest beer styles in the UK, it isn’t very easy to come across these days.

Malt-heavy mild ales – with little to no hops – were originally popular in mining communities for their low-alcohol, low-cost and sweet, easy-drinking taste. Formerly a 6% ale, the strength dropped to around 3% during the malt rationing of the first world war. The style has been dying out ever since (and some breweries who still produce it even refuse to use the name).

This is why CAMRA designate May as their Mild month. I’ve sampled a range of mild ales recently – all in the name of science, of course – and I’m really starting to enjoy it as a style, so I thought I’d share the best of the ones I’ve found so-far.

Moorhouse – Black Cat

Black Cat is one of the easiest milds to locate but as mentioned above Moorhouse is one of those breweries who don’t use the word at all on their branding or label. However from what I can tell it was previously marketed as such, but ditched the name due to the poor connotations and decline in popularity.

It has all the characteristics of a standard dark mild, not much of a head but a lovely malty mouth-feel and notes of coffee and chocolate.

Stats: 3.4% strength, cost around £1.70 in my local Asda.


Thwaites – Champion Dark Mild

Thwaites is another Mild which is fairly easy to come across, I found this in my local Morrisons.

This is a fabulous example of a mild, with a wonderful body, great head and lovely chocolate flavours from the roasted malt. If you’ve never tasted a mild before, this is a brilliant one to start off with.

Stats: 3.2% and around £4 for four cans.


Banks’s Mild

Now this ale was on my hit-list after some research, though I had to enter several of the more “unsavoury” off-licenses to locate it, which in Rochdale can mean sometimes taking your life in your hands.

Thankfully however I didn’t die, and after a visit to the local B&M Bargains (of all places) I managed to locate a few cans of “Banks’s” mild. Despite the questionable punctuation, this is a decent ale, though as it is a light mild (with a lighter chestnut colour, you’ll see) it loses some of the depth and sweetness of the other ales I’ve tried.

Stats: Around £3.30 for four cans.


Mighty Medicine – Moon Monkey

Mighty Medicine is a relatively new brewery which opened in late 2016, not far from us up in Whitworth. They specialize mostly in traditional cask ales, and have a great brewery tap I’m known to frequent on a weekly basis.

Moon Monkey (formerly called Mighty Mild) is a borderline case when it comes to a mild, but I’m counting it because its a deep malty ale (certainly not a stout, perhaps similar to a porter) and is by far the best thing they currently brew.

Stats: 4% and around £3.20 a pop, well worth it.


Titanic – Mild

Titanic’s Mild was a chance discovery a couple of days ago. I’d just been for an epic walk round Healey Dell and decided a quick pint would be a great way to quench the resulting thirst.

I wandered into The Healey pub – my local – and was pleasantly surprised to find a mild on cask I’d never tried before. This had a fabulous creamy head, and was on a par with the Thwaites dark mild above.

Stats: 3.8% strength and around £3.20 a pint.


I hope this post has blasted away some of the misconceptions around mild, and that this Mild Month you’ll give it a go. Hopefully this old ale still has life in it yet!


Here’s a little about me, should you be curious…

I’m Jonathan and I’m in my early 30s. I enjoy the full spectrum of ales available. I’ve been a fan of real ale for the last 12 years or so and then I was sucked into the ‘craft beer’ scene in around 2014. My love for ale extends between big, fresh, hoppy, American IPAs at one extreme, to cask bitters and old-school mild at the other.

My Instagram account is a journal of my beer drinking exploits.

The name for this blog comes from a scene in the film ‘Superbad’, where one of the bumbling protagonists attempts beer-related small talk with the cashier in the liquor store whilst trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID. It has become something of an in-joke whilst discussing beer with friends, so I thought it would make an appropriate (though certainly not catchy) name for the blog.



First post coming your way soon…