Some of my readers might not know where Tenerife is, though a quick Google will sort that. Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Island archipelago. They are located just off the west coast of Africa, not far from Western Sahara and Morocco. For Europeans, we might consider them the equivalent to Hawaii for Americans except they are much closer and more desert than tropical. Tenerife is one of the more forested of the main tourist islands and cloud / rain is not uncommon, especially in the mountains.
I wasn't there for the beer, I actually do sometimes go places without an intention of trying specific beers or visiting breweries, though it's rare. Actually, I was there to do some scuba diving and just enjoy a perpetually warm climate. By the way, I recently started a new blog about learning to scuba dive. It's called Irish Scuba Diver if you want to take a look. There are some nice underwater pictures to look at.
Tenerife does actually have a brewery called the Canarias Brewery owned by SABMiller. The brewery on Tenerife brews Dorada and the brewery on Gran Canaria brews Tropical. I actually became very fond of Dorada during my stay and on the few occasions where I was forced to drink something else, like Carlsberg, I found myself missing Dorada immensely. Don't get me wrong, it's not a beer I would drink at home by choice but in the climate of Tenerife it was magic. I either drank it by the pint or in 750ml bottles. The good news is that it tastes of something, it's a malt forward lager with a medium body. No adjuncts in here, just malted barley and they are very proud of that so they say 100% malta on the bottle. There's not much in the way of hops going on and I would have much preferred a good IPA but I wasn't going to complain when I had a perfectly good local beer to drink.
I did also try a can of Tropical and found it undrinkable. This was the regular tropical and it tasted like a can of sprite. Apparently there's also a lemon flavoured version. I don't see the point when the regular version does such a good job.
Our transport for the week was this hot little Italian number, a Fiat 500 and it did us proud. There's no power in it, especially going up hill but it cornered great on the snaking mountain roads. I had been to Tenerife before so I drove around the whole island over the course of a few days, when we weren't diving that is. We only went diving for two days.
One of our destinations was to be the Tacoa Brewpub in El Sauzal, which is at the north end of the Island in between Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz. On our first full day we ended up driving near the town. I hadn't planned to go that day so I didn't get the address or put it in my GPS. I just sort of ended up driving north, straight through the middle of the island by El Teide and coming out at Puerto de la Cruz. I couldn't find it but it was a nice little canarian town to wander around. We were looking for WiFi but to no avail.
The next time I went armed with the location in my GPS as it turned out it was actually in my POI list but not searchable it seems. As I got near El Sauzal, my GPS didn't tell me to take the exit so I figured it was outside of town a little. I got suspicious when the next exit came and it still told me to keep going so I took that exit and pulled over. The damn thing was bringing me all the way around the island to near where we were staying in the south west. I took local roads back in the direction of El Sauzil because I knew from looking on a map earlier that day that it was just outside the town centre.
We ended up driving right past it which was very convenient. I have excellent navigational skills but in this case, because I only had a vague idea of where I was going, it was pure chance that made me take that particular route to El Sauzil. I could have easily got back on the motorway and taken the El Sauzil exit instead of the local roads through a few other towns.
Outside, by the front of the building, it was baking hot. We were going to sit there but a waitress brought us out back to the seating area there which looked lovely until we sat down and realised that it was in the shade and the sea breeze was somewhat chilly. It wasn't so bad but we debated going out front instead and in the end just sat there and dealt with the chill. Our waitress spoke a little English but the other staff didn't seem to and it looked to be a place for locals. I doubt they get many people coming there just to try the beer. I don't think beer tourism has made it to the Canary islands yet.
The beer itself was, well odd is the best way I can describe it. On the one hand, it was nice to not be drinking a pale lager but to be honest, I found myself wishing I was drinking a pint of Dorada. I was driving so I only had two 300ml servings which I didn't finish and I tasted the two my partner ordered. Four beers in total ranging from a blond to a dark and here's the thing, they all tasted very similar, just with varying degrees of dark malt to distinguish them. All of them had this odd spent grain fresh from the mash tun sort of flavour. If you are a brewer, you might know what I mean. Take a spoonful of spent grain from from the mashtun and suck on it. That's what all of these beers tasted like to me. They weren't terrible, they were even drinkable but I found them heavy and found the spent grain thing off putting.
The brewery is a very basic looking system and it actually looks rather old, unless it's just made to look that way of course. We also had some tapas while there and the food was tasty enough. If I went back to Tenerife, I might not bother going back to Tacoa myself but if you find yourself there, it's worth making your way just to say you have been. I would also say that it's quite possible the beer is not always the way it was that day. The location is the main reason I wouldn't go back. El Sauzil is not somewhere you are likely to find yourself staying in Tenerife as it's not a tourist town. That means you have to drive, although there is a bus. I read that the 101 from Santa Cruz stops near Tacoa. That bus likely goes to Puerto de la Cruz and that is a big tourist area due mainly to it being the location of Lorro Parque. It's where I stayed the last time I was in Tenerife about 11 years ago so unless I find myself staying there, I wouldn't personally try and get back to Tacoa. When I got back to our resort and no longer needed to drive, I wolfed down some bottles of Dorada.