Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cerveceria Agua Mala Beer Review

Sometimes I taste a beer and just can't seem to find the words or phrases that best describe my experience. I get bogged down because I just can't quite put my finger on what it is I'm tasting or smelling or feeling. This often happens with beers that have more bad qualities than good and I don't want to come across like a bad guy for not liking the beer. I ran into this dilemma with a recent tasting of a Mexican beer brewed by Agua Mala.

Agua Mala's IPA

Astillero IPA is brewed in Baja at Cerveceria Agua Mala (bad water) by Nathaniel Schmidt and his business partner Thomas Fernandez. Only in business for a couple years they are already producing 10 different styles of beers.

But to my point, this is one of those cases where I'm having a hard time pinpointing a specific quality to this late hopped beer that just doesn't land well with me. As an attempt at a solution I decided to take a different approach. To name what this beer isn't may be a better way to convey my thoughts.
  • it doesn't have a clean specific malt or hop profile
  • the mouthfeel isn't crisp or sharp
  • it lacks the roundness of a mature beer
  • it isn't clear but hazy and opaque
  • there's no balance between the malt and hop flavor
  • the hop bitterness is high and doesn't support but hides the caramel qualities of the crystal malts
  • it isn't a smooth bitterness
  • it isn't easy to drink
Despite what is evidently a sincere attempt by Agua Mala to produce a hoppy pale ale, I believe that they came up short. Additionally, I will say that I'm not sure if it's the results of dry hopping or high levels of bicarbonate in the water or both but unfortunately this beer has what I can only describe as a minerally ladened mouthfeel that feels heavy or weighty, muddled and harsh.

I think Agua Mala is on the right track and I look forward to trying some of the other beers they have to offer but I think that they need to put some years of experience behind there humble beginnings to reach the level of quality IPA's that are available these days.

Drinking an Agua Mala at The Beer Co. San Miguel.


Anonymous said...

Wrong about this one. Just won silver at World Beer Cup in double ipa category

Mark Taylor said...

I reviewed this beer a year ago and maybe it got better but I still stand by what I said about it originally. I'll try another bottle soon and leave some more thoughts about it here. I can tell you now that it's still a very 'murky' looking beer.

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