Why Mahou and tapas is the perfect pairing

Tapas with Mahou
Perfect pairing: enjoy tapas with Mahou

With roots dating back to 1890, Spain’s leading beer brand has a well-rounded taste that makes it a versatile accompaniment to all types of Spanish food

Mahou Cinco Estrellas (Five Star) is a Pilsen-style lager from Madrid and the premium beer in the Mahou range.

It appeals to the sophisticated beer lover and distinguishes itself as the perfect pairing with Spanish cuisine. Over the years, it has played a huge part in Madrid’s vibrant restaurant, bar and tapas scene.

Finest ingredients – refreshing, food-friendly flavour

Mahou’s superior body and flavour can be attributed to meticulous quality standards at every stage of production.

In the brewing of Mahou Cinco Estrellas, only high-quality yeast, malt and varieties of hops from Castile-León and Bavaria are used. Quality control even extends to the point of sale, where bar staff can be trained by Mahou experts in the art of “the perfect pour”.

It is a relatively light beer, golden, elegant and very well rounded with hints of toasted barley and a very cleansing, mildly bitter finish. The perfect pour results in a persistent, creamy head that helps seal in the beer’s flavour and fresh taste.

These are the kind of exacting standards that give Mahou its five-star taste and make it so refreshing and indeed versatile, suited to all types of Spanish food from tapas and pintxos to paella.

126 years of gastronomic history

The original Mahou beer first appeared in Madrid in 1890, courtesy of the ice and beer company Hijos de Casimiro Mahou, and it soon became synonymous with the city’s gastronomy.

It is hard to exaggerate the influence the firm had in transforming the culinary landscape. The company made ice affordable for the first time, enabling produce to stay fresher longer and fresh food to be transported to the capital.

Mahou was also a pioneer in dispensing ice-chilled beer, establishing a fashion throughout every class of society.

Mahou encourages bartenders to offer tapas with their beer, and in the early years of the 20th century the company even opened a modern and sophisticated restaurant to champion the pairing of fine foods and Mahou beer.

As leisure became a more important part of urban life, open-air terraces began to spring up, and a greater variety of tapas came to be served. Again, Mahou was at the forefront of change, establishing an enduring trend throughout Spain for enjoying beer with crab and shellfish.

The finest tapas companion

Other than football, if there is one thing that unites the Spanish, it is the distinctive way in which they enjoy their food and drink.

Tapas has become the ultimate expression of Spain’s culinary culture at home and abroad. These tasty morsels of food are intrinsically associated with good company and with good beer.

As with wine and food, there are no hard and fast rules for pairing beer and tapas, but there are some basic principles to keep in mind when exploring the endless possibilities.

Why Mahou is so versatile

Ideally, the flavour of the beer should neither overwhelm nor undermine the food and vice versa. There should be a harmony and balance between all the aromas and tastes.

Mahou happens to go very well with seafood, especially mussels, crab, squid and cod, because it is so fresh and crisp, and it does not overpower their subtle flavours.

The contrast between the texture or mouthfeel of the beer and the food can also be a source of pleasure. This is noticeable after, say, a mouthful of creamy croquetas or starchy, even spicy tapas dishes such as the famous patatas bravas. The beer’s cleansing finish leaves the palate refreshed and ready for another bite.

Thirst-quenching Mahou also provides the perfect foil for the unique flavours of Spain’s cured meats, cheeses, salted anchovies, almonds and olives.

As the good people of Spain have attested for generations, an ice-cold glass of Mahou not only offers the quintessential taste for beer lovers, it is perhaps the finest tapas companion of all.

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