The Mancunion

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An Evening of Beer and Tapas

Escape the cold, wet winter evenings and enter a world of tastebud tingling spanish Tapas and intense Artisan beer

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Taking place in Spinningfields’ sophisticated Spanish venue, the recently opened authentic restaurant Iberica held a Beer and Tapas evening, which allowed an escape from an icy February eve, and immersion into the world and flavours of renowned Spanish beer master Casimiro Mahou.

The evening kicked off with an introduction to the history and development of artisan Spanish beer in the atmospheric upstairs dining area of Iberica, which contrasts with the expansive and lively bar area.

Three gourmet Beers where enjoyed, each inspired by Casimiro Mahou, a pioneer who dreamed of creating outstanding beer in wine-dominated Spain. These beers are currently unique to Iberica, and not available anywhere else, which is a pity given their lush, palate-pleasing flavours.

The golden foamy wheat beer, Marcenado, had a malty honeyed flavour. We were advised on a method to enjoy the intense flavours and scents. This involved swirling the beer with your hand over the glass, in order to allow scents to build, and then inhaling. This, however, has left me now unable to drink without automatically cupping, swirling, and sniffing my drinks—not to be attempted with hot coffee!

Recommended accompanying tapas avoided the confusion in selecting the right combinations when faced with a huge menu full of choice and variety.

Shunning the ever popular and well known tapas dishes, we were instead treated to Iberica’s signature Serrano ham croquettes, with a delicate moreish flavour that complemented the beer perfectly.

The Maravillas lager was described as representing the entrepreneurial spirit of Casimiro Mahou, and had a stronger, more citrus flavour, with a hint of caramel.

This was accompanied by the fantastic asparagus, manchego, and onion confit on a rich truffle oil toast. This was a stark contrast to many of the tapas dishes we have come to know, and had a strong and multi-layered flavour that would make it the perfect accompaniment to any beer. Definitely one I would like to try again, and plates were rapidly cleared.

The final beer of the evening was the vibrant red coloured Jacometrezo. Dedicated to originality, it certainly achieved this with its sweet yet spicy flavour and rich beige foam.

The beers were all served with specific glasses suited to allow full experience of their rich flavours, and were all served at their ideal temperatures.  A warm beer is perhaps a good beer, and we were warned that beers which you are advised to drink only at very cold temperatures are so in order to disguise poor quality!

Not wanting to finish there and with our appetites stirred, Iberica’s bar menu was perused for more tasty treats.

Served in the high ceilinged and wildly decorated bar area, the punchy flavour of Padron peppers, and the lingering, garlic aroma of fried chorizo lollipops in pear alioli, were washed down with the best Sangria I have ever tasted, made with cucumber and mint, and one of four varieties available.

This relative newcomer to the city is already massively popular in London as a venue for top end, authentic, and high quality Spanish food, and it was a rare treat to enjoy such a varied feast of food and drink. Delicately crafted food and drinks, rich with complex flavours, left everyone wanting more.